North Texas Could See More Rolling Blackouts

By Marianne Martinez, CBS 11 News

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The demand for electricity could reach record high levels on Thursday morning, as temperatures reach a record low. Many people across North Texas will be struggling to stay warm. This means that rolling power outages could potentially return.

As cold temperatures rolled into the Metroplex last week, and the entire area was covered under a blanket of snow and ice, people became enraged when their power went out. The high demand for electricity late last week forced the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to coordinate rolling outages. This process, called load-shedding, is designed to take strain off of the state’s electric grid.

Although last week’s rolling blackouts were intended to be brief – approximately 15 or 30 minutes – several Texans reported homes without power for a matter of hours. It also did not look impressive to thousands of visitors in town for Super Bowl XLV this past Sunday.

The rolling outages only lasted a part of one day. Increasing temperatures and power conservation helped lessen the need for continued blackouts. But with North Texas seeing the coldest temperatures in 30 years on Thursday, ERCOT is warning people about the possibility of outages returning.

Officials with ERCOT have predicted record high electricity demands on Thursday morning, perhaps even higher than the demand that was seen last week. The agency has purchased extra generation capacity for the cold snap, but it may not be enough to prevent more rolling outages if demand becomes extreme.

To help prevent more rolling outages, ERCOT has urged Texans to conserve power, and offered some tips for doing so without creating dangerous conditions for yourself or your family. Keep the thermostat as low as possible and dress in layers or use blankets for warmth. Turn off and unplug any appliances that are not in use. Close shades and blinds to prevent losing heat through the windows. Do not use large appliances, like the dishwasher or washing machine, until later in the day.

Temperatures are often at their coldest around 7:00 a.m. and, likewise, the demand for electricity typically peaks between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. each morning. It is particularly crucial to conserve power during this hour in order to prevent the rolling blackouts from coming back to North Texas.

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>> ERCOT Defends Handling Of Power Emergency

preston smith North Texas Could See More Rolling Blackouts

Click the above image to see more winter weather photos! (credit: Preston Smith)

  • North Texas Could See More Rolling Blackouts « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] North Texas Could See More Rolling Blackouts Many people will be struggling to stay warm on Thursday. This means that rolling power outages could potentially return. Go to News Source […]

  • El

    1989 is NOT 30 years ago .

    • Mike

      True, but the coldest temperature on record for Feb 10 in Dallas was 16 degrees in 1981, 30 years ago. It dropped to 15 today breaking that record.

      • El

        True, but the article did not specify the date , only 30 years. Oh well I give up. Gotta wash my car.

  • Barry Bin Inhalin

    I love the hand-wringing by the Left as they report the ‘news’. Doling out warnings and puplic-service like advice to like try keeping your own arse warm with a blanket.. DUH. Do they not see the direct correlation of not building power plants and not enough power to go around? Where’s that report?

    This, among many other reasons, is why one does not vote for Democrats. I just wish that the no-new-powerplant crew could be selected as the ones who get to ‘sacrifice’ and have THIER power turned off. We’d really see them wet thier pants at that point.

    • Mark

      Typical right-wing replay, expect people to be responsible for their actions and decisions… don’t you realize Big Government can take care of you better than you can take care of yourself?? Look at what a great job Government does already. We tried to warn you about Global Warming and you didn’t listen… now here’s the result. We don’t need frivolous things like power plants, we need conservation to save the planet… do you have a compost pile yet? Juicer? People that work are just Greedy.. get on Welfare & Food Stamps and save the Earth! –

      • JOSHUA


      • SA4Palin

        Careful Mark, some people will think you’re serious

    • Harold

      What will happen when we get all of those rechargable cars that Mr. O wants?

      • StainBuster

        Great point Harold. What happens when you plug your pluggable hybrid into a plug that has no electricity?

  • More Cold Weather Texas Blackouts?

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  • youlie

    Please fact check before writing these stories. You make it sound like the Texas powered could not handle the demand. The truth is, the reason the first blackouts occurred was because several power stations had technical difficulties like busted pipes and had to shut down. otherwise we would have been fine.
    Also, Texas has been trying to build more plants in anticipation of growth, but the Obama admin has blocked every attempt. Why was this not in the article?

    • CK

      Youlie, give it up – the MSM isn’t about facts or truth, just left wing spin. We had rolling blackouts at my house several times during the last storm. It was NO BIG DEAL – I wish all the whining would just stop – this isn’t the spirit our great state of Texas was built upon.

      • Leah

        Youlie, you expect far too much from the MSM and the Left. They never let silly things like facts get in their way.

  • Don

    And the libs want us to plug our electric cars into the grid. Great idea or what?

  • Randell Turner

    According to a CBS News article a few days ago, these “rolling black outs” have much more to do with 3000.00 per KWH electricity than they do with demand! The day before those black outs happened, electricity on the spot market sold for about 50.00 per KWH. But, on the day before the black outs were put in play, the state raised the maximum charge for high demand electricity to 3000.00 per KWH! Suddenly there was a shortage and suddenly we were paying the max! All of this was done under the guise of “free market” utilities and it is following the pattern of California when utilities are “deregulated” so that we can buy electricity from whoever we want! Our present and past govenor has sold us to the utility company and this is probably just the beginning of our third world experiences when it comes to utilities! Create the need and then fill it, especially when you control the price and you can make millions with “rolling black outs!”

    • Wayno

      That is completely untrue!
      Whatever money we made for the couple of hours energy was high-priced cannot compare to the money we lost when our plant was down. Get a clue.
      While you were whining about being without power in your home for a couple of hours, I was out in the weather for 16 hours straight trying to get our power-plant up and running again. We didn’t shut it down intentionally. Many instruments froze up causing units to trip offline. So we had to chip the ice away and thaw those instruments out with heat guns, and rig up lamps and such to keep them from freezing again. There were dozens of frozen instruments we had to thaw out in spite of our vast array of freeze protection circuits.

      So boo frickety hoo. I feel so sorry that you had to be without power for a couple of hours last wednesday. Now we are working 24/7 this week to try and prevent something like that from happening again. So far, so good.

  • Randolph Knipp

    I really appreciate this comment. I wondered how on earth Texas, in the center of the petroleum industry, could have such problems, and it made me feel as if I were living in a third world country! I do think that the kabosh being put on business is contributing to our lack of power, and somehow we must get this business-killing administration out of office!

    • Leah


    • JOSHUA


  • migtex

    Texas is great and would not have problem if King o – did not want to kill all electricity means – Throw the ball back to DC,

  • The Strata-Sphere » The Faux Panic Of Global Warming

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  • Petra

    Sure is strange that TX is not better prepared for this

    • Wayno

      I know. You would expect a Gulf-Coast town with 110 degree summers and rarely below-freezing winters to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on freeze-protection to be prepared for a condition that practically never happens.

      If this happened to power-plants in Michigan I would chastize them for not being prepared. But Houston? Really? You’re really gonna crucify us for not being able to handle the coldest winter we’ve had in 10 years?

      • Mike

        Not sure why the story dateline is Plano. The coal plant outages were downstate closer to Houston and Austin than Dallas.

      • StainBuster

        Houston? Plano is a suburb of Dallas. It gets cold in Dallas quite often. I moved to Dallas in December of ’83. The ponds and swimming pools were frozen over.

      • Wayno

        People please stop believing everything the news tells you.
        They assume a lot without doing much if any investigation.

    • Powerless in Kalifornia

      This something you would expect from Kalifornia
      Not being prepaired and leaving everyone in the dark!

  • Marfa

    This regime is not business friendly

  • Alvin Walker

    So it looks like the boys from Enron are still around. This whole deal stinks to high heaven.

    • rk

      Enron is still around, it’s called EOG Resources. (Enron Oil and Gas)

  • Rich

    HEY what about my new electric “government motors” car. You folks need to conserve so I can charge the battery! LOL

    • Mike

      You and the other 9 TX Volt owners should recharge overnight and there will not be any problems.

      • JOSHUA


  • Transplanted Texan

    Free market utility…that’s an oxymoron. The time for a government-granted monopoly has come and gone.

  • Dan

    Obama Obama Obama

  • Walt

    Has anyone got a good handle on what the output of all the Texas wind turbines relative to maximum capacity has been during the recent cold weather? in the UK, during their very cold December, wind turbine output was about 1% of rated capacity.

    It would be interesting to know how Texas’ wind turbines are performing during this very cold winter.

    • Mike

      The morning of the deep freeze and rolling blackouts last week, TX wind output was reported between 3,500-4,200 MW which was about what they were forecast and contracted for on that morning. That was about 7-8% of the overall supply, consistent with 7.8% average for wind in 2010 (coal & nat gas were about 38% each). Full wind capacity is reported at about 9,300MW in TX which leads the nation.

      • Wayno

        Wind and solar and hydro combined will never replace coal and natural gas. They aren’t anywhere nearly effecient enough. Without government incentives they could never compete in the first place. And who pays for those government incentives? Right, we do.

    • Schmedley Ewing

      If T. Boone Pickens is selling his west TX windpower fields do you really need an answer to your question?

  • Foster

    “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” ~ H. L. Mencken

  • Frigid air, snow, worry ranchers in Plains, South… : Bilco's Domain

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  • Vidreiro

    Indeed, the boys from Enron are, in fact, still around and once again failing miserably. Since ERCOTs inception not only has it been mired in corruption (see the public record), but the grid in Texas has become increasingly unstable and unreliable. ERCOT needs to be opened up to the rest of the national grid to not only reinforce stability, but also to avail true competition within ERCOT ( in effect it merely comprises a caprive market), by allwing end-users to purchase power from, say, Oklahoma, where there is plenty of excess capacity and unit costs for power are ~40% less than within TX (ERCOT). Reliability my A$$……

    • Vidreiro

      Just a P.S. to note that suggesting that current conditions are ” the coldest in 30 years” , apparently an assertion by ERCOT, is patently and demonstrably false. The real deal is that the power supply system in Texas has become progressively weaker and incapable despite the highest consumer costs in the nation — at any level you want to consider.

      • Rob Johnson

        Really? I have live in Dallas since 1884 and I can not remember it ever being this cold for this long before. Of course memory has it vagaries but seriously this is very unusual to me

    • Mike

      ERCOT does have interconnects to trade power with WECC to the west and SPP grid to the north and east, along with connections to Mexico. These need to be increased and there are some plans in the works for that like tres amigas.

      • Vidreiro

        Understood. However, these interconnects are microscopic relative to the system and may be largely ignored for practical purposes. I’d like to see 20-30,000 MW available from outside of ERCOT for reasons of stability and cost — BTW interconnections to TX are not simple –AC vs DC issues — the cynical part of me believes that this is by design.

  • red

    its funny how in the summer in texas when everyone is using their a/c there is no problem,i would think more people use electricity in the summer than in winter here in texas . ercot is the next enron scandalj

    • Mike

      True that there is a bigger summer peak power draw than winter. For this reason, winter is the time when generation plants are taken out of service for needed maintenance and repairs. This reduces available capacity to respond to peak demand like the record winter usage last week and this week (around 57,000MW) from the statewide deep freeze. Summer peak is around 66,000MW and only emergency maintenance is allowed then. The 3rd tier nat gas plants are brought online only a few days throughout the year for peak usage. In summer, that’s not a problem. In severe winter cold outbreaks, they’ve learned last week that nat gas shortages due to heating demand can cripple some of those plants if they don’t have enough gas pressure and they run into other weather related issues. Lose a few big coal plants unexpectedly and your emergency nat gas fired backup power can’t come online and you have record winter demand, then you have a shortfall situation like last week. When supply and demand get that close or become inverted, that creates greater opportunities for market manipulation.

  • Hank Warren

    No money for US infrastructure but plenty of money to support endless Wars for Israel, it all started nearly a decade ago under a false flag attack.
    9/11 and Israel, here:

  • Greg

    I Like the way the show pics of a transformer and high tension lines. It really drives the point.

  • Coldest January since 1994 in USA… : Bilco's Domain

    […] headline, 4th story, link) Related stories: Cold Weather Could Bring Return To Rolling Blackouts For TX…Frigid air, snow, worry ranchers in Plains, South…CHILL MAP…Georgia eyes coldest winter […]

  • Ken S.

    Now that they know they can get away with it and justify it with a lame excuse. You better get use to the rolling blackouts, it’s gonna happen in the summer time any time it gets above 95 degrees. Let’s face it they don’t care about the public and especially the elderly when they do such things. I suggest buying a gas powered generator and keep plenty of gas on hand.

    • Wayno

      Next time you have a rolling blackout, and your home gets down to 60 degrees or so for an hour or two, and I’m out in the 25 degree weather hanging from a pipe-rack with a heat gun thawing out a level-transmitter on a boiler drum, I’ll gladly trade places with you.

      • Wayno

        Sorry left out an important detail.

        I would be doing that work out in the cold to try and get our power-plant back up and running again during a freeze, so you can have a nice warm toasty home. Even though I won’t be going to my warm home for many hours.

      • Leah

        If you don’t like it, go flip burgers at McDonald’s.

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