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ERCOT: Rotating power outages no longer expected

By: Claudia Grisales |

The state’s power grid operator has canceled all of its emergency alerts that had urged consumers to reduce their electricity usage out of concerns of rotating power outages.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it has canceled its “Energy Emergency Alert Level 1,” but a power watch still remains in effect.

“Conservation should still be considered,” Austin Energy officials said, such as keeping home thermostats no higher than 68 degrees and turning off or unplugging nonessential lights and appliances.

Update: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) now says it is not expecting to have to implement rotating outages this morning.

“We have brought on all available electric generation and have deployed all demand response programs that have contracted with ERCOT to reduce electric use in emergency situations,” Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations, said in a press release. “Conditions appear to be improving at this time, and we do not expect to implement rotating outages this morning.”

However, a “power watch” remains in effect for Texas, and conservation is recommended.

ERCOT offers these tips to help reduce power:

  • Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable, preferably no higher than 68 degrees.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours (6-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.).
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Earlier: The state’s power grid operator is warning that energy demands are beginning to strain Texas electricity supplies in the wake of frigid temperatures.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas warned shortly after 7 a.m. that power reserves had fallen to levels that could trigger rotating outages if demands continue to strain the state’s power grid.

So far, ERCOT said it was implementing an “Energy Emergency Alert Level 2” alert and urging consumers and businesses to reduce electricity usage.

“There may be a need to implement rotating outages,” ERCOT warned.

However, Austin Energy spokesman Carlos Cordova said there were no reports of any concerns for local residents at this time, but said it would help to reduce energy demands in case concerns continue.

For example, residents can turn off power to unnecessary appliances and lower their home thermostats to below 68 degrees, which is the recommended norm when there is no concerns with power supplies.

ERCOT may be taking additional steps and asking some of its commercial customers to reduce demands of electricity as well, Cordova said.