(8:30 p.m., Feb. 6, 2014) -- There is an increased risk that ERCOT will need to instruct Valley-area transmission and distribution service providers to begin rotating outages in the Rio Grande Valley area due high power demands and transmission import limitations into the area. The highest likelihood of rotating outages is until about 9 p.m. this evening and between 6 and 9 a.m. Friday morning.
The transmission system capacity sending power to the Valley area is affected by a planned outage on a line that is being upgraded to improve future electric capacity to the region. The line cannot be returned to service in time to serve increased power demand associated with the extremely cold weather that is driving up power demands.
Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service that are typically limited to 10-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood. If rotating outages become necessary to protect the transmission grid, they will continue as long as needed to maintain the grid reliability and prevent a more serious situation.
The specific locations and durations are determined by local utilities. 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.
Although ERCOT has requested conservation across the entire region, the need is particularly acute in the Rio Grande Valley area due to the transmission issue. ERCOT is asking consumers in the Rio Grande Valley area to reduce energy consumption this evening and during the morning peak hours.
- 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.
- Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers - representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects about 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 6.7 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.
ERCOT Media Contact: Robbie Searcy, (512) 225-7213