Every kilowatt saved, is a kilowatt not blacked out tomorrow - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Every kilowatt saved, is a kilowatt not blacked out tomorrow

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – While hundreds remain without gas, hundreds of thousands of East Texans had to deal with rolling power outages all day Wednesday.

Those temporary power outages have been suspended, but another cold night means they could be coming back.

The power outages across the state today prove no one is immune to the extreme cold we've seen in the past few days. The true test will come when it cools down even more on Wednesday night.

A higher demand for energy on an already crippled system could put even more people in the dark.

"We're still having customers that are going out either due to overloaded transformers, or one thing or another," said Charles Hill from Oncor.

Bitter cold caused power problems across Texas today, prompting energy providers to take action on both local and state levels.

"We try not to have any customer off any longer than we just have to," Hill said.

The heavy freeze sent tree limbs though power lines, and raised consumption to what Governor Rick Perry called an "unprecedented demand of the state's energy grid."

This is such an abnormal cold situation and then when you have power plants go down, that just compounds the problem,

Those power plants fall in the coverage area of ERCOT, the state agency responsible for distributing power to companies like Oncor, across 75% of Texas.

The state reported two power plants, Oak Grove near Franklin, and Sand Hills near Austin, stopped producing when pipes froze Tuesday night, prompting necessary power outages.

"If it doesn't work, then we could have very catastrophic outages throughout the State of Texas, that would take days to correct," says Hill.

"Conservation is critical at this point, because every kilowatt that we save right now, is a kilowatt that we don't have to black out during the day," Hill exclaimed.

However, ERCOT says there is a strong possibility rolling outages may return Wednesday night or Thursday morning, depending on how quickly disabled units are repaired, and the one thing we can't control—the weather.

"When the weather warms up, demand decreases and/or these power plants come back online then the situation should correct itself," Hill says.

Now, it's not getting any warmer, so, ERCOT is stressing the need for cutting back on unnecessary power.

Unused appliances should be unplugged and thermostats should be lowered.

Providers say any kilowatt hours saved can help keep us from rolling outages.

SWEPCO is not a member of ERCOT, and is not subject to the intrastate grid's call for rolling blackouts.

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