Texas Dodges Blackout Threat

January 8, 2014 By William Opalka

ErcotThe grid operator in Texas warned of possible rolling brownouts during the cold snap on Monday and Tuesday, but did not have to resort to emergency measures.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas canceled a power emergency alert issued early Monday when freezing temperatures pushed demand. Two power plants were briefly offline on Monday, exacerbating the situation.

A cold front pushed temperatures well below freezing overnight across Texas and sent Houston-area temperatures to a low of 28 degrees by 7 a.m. That spurred demand for electricity to rise to 56,031 MW, about 11,700 MW short of last year’s peak demand in August.

To ease demand on the grid Monday, ERCOT asked big industrial and commercial operators to temporarily reduce their power use.  The agency also brought on all additional generation resources.

A similar cold snap in February 2011 triggered the last round of rolling blackouts in Texas. Power distribution companies, such as CenterPoint in Houston and ONCOR in Dallas, were asked to use rolling blackouts to cut up to 4,000 MW.

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