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ERCOT Defends Handling Of Power Emergency

By Robert Wood, NewsRadio 1080 KRLD
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Incandescent light bulb is illuminated next to electricity pylons. (credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

Incandescent light bulb is illuminated next to electricity pylons. (credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – The power emergency is over for the time being, but ERCOT officials still say conservation is the name of the game while the temperatures are still colder than normal.

ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett says the bottom line cause of the power emergency was the cold that caused things to freeze. “In some cases frozen pipes, frozen valves, frozen control equipment, such as monitors.”

Doggett says plants are winterized but in this case that wasn’t enough and he’s not sure why just yet.

Doggett says there wasn’t more notice to the public because things just moved too quick as 50 plants experienced some kind of outage and steps had to be taken fast to ensure the whole system didn’t go down. “We’ll continue to look at opportunities to improve those lines of communications, but unfortunately many of these events will unfold quickly and it’s often a challenge to broadcast that info.”

During the power emergency one part of the grid continued to perform. While traditional power plants had enough problems with the cold that 50 of them shut down, the state’s wind farms kept going says Wind Coalition executive director Paul Sadler.

Sadler says what that means is the more power sources the state has the better. “Diversification of our energy sources is a good thing. It’s good for our state, it strengthens our state.” He says according to ERCOT records wind power continued to meet its part of the demand throughout the crisis.

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