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ERCOT: Rotating power outages not expected


Unlike October, residents are not likely to experience rotating power outages during peak demand this summer as sufficient electric generation is projected, an official with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s power grid, said Thursday.

Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s director of system operations, visited the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, meeting with stakeholders and community members, providing insight into ERCOT’s operations aimed at ensuring the reliability of power to 24 million customers in the state.

Absent power generation or transmission failures, “we don’t expect problems,” Woodfin said.

There were rotating outages in the Valley on Oct. 8, when two of three power plants went offline.

Public records also reflect that the following day on Oct. 9, ERCOT made a call for conservation when a transmission line experienced an outage in an unrelated issue.

Overseen by the state Public Utility Commission and the Texas Legislature, ERCOT is governed by a board that directs the management of electric power in the state, scheduling power on an electric grid that connects more than 43,000 miles of transmission lines and 550 generation units. ERCOT also operates and performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for more than 7 million premises in competitive choice areas.

Outages have occurred throughout the system three times in ERCOT’s history: December 1989, April 2006 and February 2011. There also were outages in the Valley in October 2014, data shows.

Woodfin noted that ERCOT has worked closely with transmission providers in the Valley to address reliability concerns in this growing region. More than $1.3 billion in improvements are in progress and scheduled for completion by mid-2016 to help support growing demand in this area.