The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) indicated in a press release on Monday that the council instituted rotating outages before 2 a.m.
“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said Bill Magness, president and CEO of ERCOT.
In a conference call, Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s senior director of system operations, explained the council’s decision to implement the controlled outages, citing a “peak demand” for electricity on Sunday night that caused generating units to “begin tripping offline” after 11 p.m.
“We implemented these controlled outages that are currently in progress,” Woodfin said.
“The way this works is we determine how much reduction in demand is needed to maintain that supply-demand balance and we tell the transmission owners around the state how much reduction we need and they determine where and how to implement those reductions on their system.”
Woodfin indicated these controlled outage events could last throughout Monday, noting ERCOT is “working tirelessly” to get power back on.
Electricity providers are not necessarily able to rotate outages due to the “severity” of the demand brought about by the unusual winter storm, according to Woodfin’s statement. He indicated that the demand is “more megawatts and longer” than ERCOT has ever had to fulfill in the past.
A detailed look at road conditions for the state can be found here.
Texans may reference the following for more information on power outages.
North, East, and West Texas
Oncor Electric Delivery Company, the largest energy company in Texas which provides electricity for Texans in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, East Texas, and West Texas, has an outage map for customers here.
“Due to the severity of the electric generation shortfall, our expected outage length of 15 to 45 minutes has been significantly extended. Outages due to this electric emergency could last for hours & we ask you to be prepared,” the company tweeted on Monday morning.
AEP Texas, which provides electricity for swathes of West Texas and South Texas, has an outage map here.
Austin Energy, the city-owned utility company, is providing an outage map here.
“This event happened quickly and the amount of load we needed to remove from the grid was significant and in was in a matter of short time. We maxed out on available circuits on what we have to not interrupt critical load,” said the company.
CenterPoint Energy, the primary natural gas provider for households in the Houston area, has an online outage tracker, but their system crashed due to a surge in demand.
“Unfortunately, if you are a customer who is currently experiencing an outage, you should be prepared to be without power for at least the rest of the day,” tweeted the company.
CPS Energy, the municipal electricity company in San Antonio, has an outage map here.
Similar to many other utility companies in the state right now, CPS Energy said, “Due to the unprecedented severity of the weather across the state and the condition of the grid, some rotating outages may last longer than 15 minutes and will likely continue throughout the day.”
AEP Texas, which provides electricity for swathes of South Texas and West Texas, has an outage map here.
The Magic Valley Electric Cooperative provides an outage map here.
El Paso Electric has reported no outages, but a map for any problems can be found here.
“[El Paso Electric] is not a part of the ERCOT system in East/Central Texas. Any alerts or reports customers are seeing from ERCOT do not apply to EPE. Our crews continue managing the storm and working 24/7 to maintain our system reliability. We keep all utility workers in our thoughts,” said the company.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.