Weather Alert

Common Questions Answered About Texas Power Outages

(KTSA News) — President Biden is issuing an emergency declaration for Texas amid the winter storm. The declaration means federal resources for the state are being freed up to respond to the situation.

Texas is dealing with serious winter weather and much of the state is under a winter storm warning. Tens of thousands of Texans are without power as the ice and snow brings down power lines but some of the blackouts are due to ERCOT’s rotating blackouts.

The state energy grid management entity says the winter storm is creating a high demand for power and higher than normal generation outages.

They’re asking all Texans to limit power usage at this time. ERCOT has declared an Energy Emergency Alert One for the whole state of Texas. It isn’t known how long the energy emergency will remain in effect.

CPS Energy customers may experience rotating power outages as instructed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).  The utility says there’s not enough electric generation available across the state to keep up with customer demand throughout the system.

it’s also an effort to prevent larger and more extreme impacts on the Texas grid. CPS Energy is also asking natural gas customers to reduce energy use as well.

“Rotating outages are necessary to help preserve the integrity of the Texas electric grid,” said Rudy Garza, Chief Customer Engagement Officer for CPS Energy.  “It is crucial that we, along with other Texas utilities, implement rotating outages as directed by ERCOT. The mandatory request for load shed can be subsidized by residential and commercial customers doing what they can to reduce energy use.”

Yiu can monitor real-time grid conditions by downloading the ERCOT mobile app and/or following the grid operator on Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO). Customers are also encouraged to follow CPS Energy’s social media feeds (@cpsenergy)  Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service initiated by each utility when supplies of reserve power are exhausted. Without this safety valve, generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of widespread, uncontrolled outages. The outages are limited to 10 to 15 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.

CPS Energy says some  customers may experience longer outages if power surges cause equipment failure during the restoration process. You can minimize power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other equipment, except for one light to determine when power has been restored.

Critical need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes are generally not included.

It is not known at this time how long the need for rotating outages will last.

Extreme temperatures have caused stress on the grid with higher than average consumption for this time of year. Consumers and businesses should reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible.

CPS Energy is asking to continue to reduce electricity use by:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68-degrees or lower.
  • Open blinds and shades to take advantage of the sun’s natural heat during the day.
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Turn off and unplug nonessential
  • Turn off and unplug nonessential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming windows. equipment as much as possible.

    A “Power Emergency” indicates that ERCOT has instructed utilities to implement rotating outages to reduce load. The outages are typically limited to 10 to 15 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood. Some customers may experience longer outages if power surges cause equipment failure during the restoration process. Customers can minimize power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other equipment, except for one light to determine when power has been restored.

     

    How to track electricity demand

    • View daily peak demand forecast, current load, and available generation at http://www.ercot.com.
    • Follow ERCOT on Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO) and Facebook (Electric Reliability Council of Texas).
    • Sign up for the ERCOT mobile app (available for download at the Apple App
    • Store and Google Play).
    • Subscribe to the Emergency Alerts list on http://lists.ercot.com.
    • Consumer assistance
    • Public Utility Commission of Texas Hotline – 1-888-782-8477

     Customers can stay up-to-date on the utility’s Facebook and Twitter pages and can also monitor power outages and report them on the Outage Map.


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