Heat Forces Rolling Power Blackouts

Texas power suppliers are urging customers to cut down on their electricity use in the hopes of avoiding more rolling blackouts. Power companies throughout the state imposed the blackouts yesterday because of an electricity shortage during unseasonably hot weather.

Parts of Tyler, Jacksonville, Edgewood, Sulphur Springs and many other areas across the whole state had the lights go out yesterday afternoon. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas controls 85 percent of the state's power grid and they said there was just not enough power generation available to support everyone turning on their air conditioners.

A Public Utility Commission spokesman says that unusually high temperatures this spring have pushed demand for electricity, creating a shortage. The rollouts were limited to the ERCOT grid, which provides electricity to about 80 percent of Texas.

A spokeswoman for Centerpoint Energy says rolling blackouts every 15 minutes for the Houston area were ordered late Monday afternoon. ERCOT urged customers around the state to curtail their use of electricity to the lowest level possible, including setting their thermostats at 78 degrees or higher and not using electric lighting, appliances or equipment unless absolutely necessary.