Watch CBS News

'Fighting To Restore Power,' ERCOT Calls For Rotating Outages As Extreme Winter Weather Forces Generating Units Offline

Upload Weather Pictures/Video

School Closures/Delays

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state's power grid, entered emergency conditions and initiated rotating outages at 1:25 a.m. on Feb. 15.

"Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now," said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.

About 10,500 MW of customer load was shed at the highest point, which is enough power to serve approximately two million homes. Extreme weather conditions caused many generating units – across fuel types – to trip offline and become unavailable.

As of 5 a.m. Monday morning, over 30,000 MW of generation forced off the system.

Rotating outages will likely last throughout the morning and could be initiated until the weather emergency ends.

The entire state remains on a winter storm warning due to threats of heavy snow, ice and very cold temperatures. In North Texas, heavy snow with blizzard-like conditions is making its way through the area.

Due to the intense cold, ERCOT is asking for reduced electricity use from consumers and businesses.

"We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas," said Magness. "At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units. We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time."

Below are some tips from ERCOT to reduce power use:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68-degrees.
  • Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Residents are urged to conserve power with safety in mind; even turning off something as small as toaster helps.



View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.