FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Many people across North Texas are probably tempted to crank up the heat right after waking up on Tuesday morning. Temperatures are well below freezing again in the DFW area, making for another frigid day. But the demand for electricity could mean power problems throughout the Metroplex.
Officials are asking Texans to think about how their heat use might put a strain on the area’s power supply.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas manages the state’s power grid, handling about 85 percent of the power load. And on Monday morning, they urged Texans to conserve energy, even temporarily issuing alerts about the statewide demand and warning that rolling blackouts were a possibility.
A similar situation happened during the Super Bowl ice storm in February 2011.
A large number of people in Texas on Monday morning were turning up their heat and using electricity. That froze up the instruments which control two large power plants in North Central Texas, knocking those plants offline. The high demand nearly forced blackouts, but ERCOT was able to prevent that by importing power from the East Coast and Mexico.
Those two power plants came back online by mid-Monday.
ERCOT is hoping to avoid a similar situation on Tuesday morning, once again asking Texans to cut back on energy use in their homes and businesses. They suggest keeping thermostats at 68 degrees and unplugging unnecessary appliances which are not being used. So far, conservation efforts have helped, but we are not out of the woods just yet.
Although the worst of the chilly blast is over for Texas, the warming will be slow. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures in the 40s across the state on Tuesday.
Dallas electricity provider Oncor stated that nearly 5,000 customers were without power on Monday night. That total dropped to less than 200 customers by Tuesday morning.
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