HOUSTON (KTRK) — Thousands of people have been without power, even as temperatures remain well below freezing. Now the rolling blackouts may be ending.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas told utilities state-wide this morning to begin rotating outages to compensate for a generation shortage due to numerous plant trips that occurred because of the extreme weather. At 2pm, ERCOT cancelled their directive to CenterPoint Energy to curtail delivery of power in its greater Houston service territory.
According to ERCOT, rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service, typically lasting 10-45 minutes per neighborhood. The locations and durations are determined by the local utilities. Critical need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes are generally not included.
In their noon update, ERCOT continued to urge all consumers who can reduce their energy consumption to do so at this time. They recommend cutting usage, including these steps:
- Limit electricity usage to only that consumption which is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
- 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.
They also advise drivers to minimize unnecessary travel as traffic signals may go out of service resulting in traffic jams.
According to ERCOT, 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 task light to determine when power has been restored.
Centerpoint Energy notified customers via email that they would implement 15-30 minute systematic outages.
The ERCOT region includes Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Abilene and the Rio Grande Valley. It does not include the El Paso area, the Texas Panhandle, Northeast Texas (Longview, Marshall and Texarkana), and Southeast Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur, and the Woodlands).
Entergy Texas is not a member of ERCOT and is not subject to the intrastate grid’s call for rolling blackouts. Entergy has no plans to institute rolling blackouts as a result of the current severe winter weather event.