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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