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With 'Near Blizzard Conditions Possible' In North Texas, ERCOT Expects Record-Breaking Electric Use

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — As colder, Arctic air arrives in North Texas this weekend you may be tempted to bump up the thermostat on your heater, but one Texas agency is asking you not to overdo it.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) -- the state's electrical grid operator -- is warning that the electrical power supply will be tight because usage is expected to increase to record levels late this weekend and early next week.

"This statewide weather system is expected to bring Texas the coldest weather we've experienced in decades," said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. "With temperatures rapidly declining, we are already seeing high electric use and anticipating record-breaking demand."

Cold weather has caused problems with the state's electric grid before. Ten years ago, during another February cold snap, ERCOT began performing "rotating outages," or rolling blackouts because of high usage and problems at dozens of power plants.

Based on the current load forecast, and if temperatures continue to decline, ERCOT could set a new all-time winter peak demand record on Monday, February 15.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Metroplex and all of North Texas from late Saturday night through Monday afternoon. Forecasters they say heavy snow and blowing snow is possible and warn that North Texas could see "near blizzard conditions" with possible snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches.

During the winter blast wind chills could dip as low as 15 below zero.

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