Possibility of rolling blackouts this summer?

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - With temperatures climbing close to the triple digits, more people are pushing their air conditioners to the max.

With it getting so hot so soon in the summer, many are wondering if the power grid could get overworked like it did a few months ago when Tyler faced record cold conditions.

Energy officials weigh in to talk about what's being done to keep air conditioners blowing and tempers from flaming.

"They had some freezing problems. Just some mechanical issues, and those power plants started tripping offline," says Charles Hill of Oncor, referring to February's freezing temperatures.

That's when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas told Oncor to initiate rolling blackouts. Hill says the blackouts were necessary to prevent a complete overload.

"So we started shedding load. That is disconnecting customers on a rolling outage kind of situation in order to stabilize the system," explains Hill.

Even hospitals, which are normally spared from this, went dark.

"The electricity went off. No one warned us that it was going to happen," said John Moore, Public Information Officer for Trinity Mother Frances.

As people crank up their air conditioners to stay cool, Hill says they shouldn't worry about baking in the summer heat.

"We did form a task force that just makes us start to look at what we call our critical load customers. Hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes," says Hill.

The task force consists of 30 people and aims to better communicate with its critical customers, something that didn't happen back in February.

Hill says the largest threat this summer isn't an overload, but wind and lightning from thunderstorms.

Oncor says you can preserve power this summer by turning your AC up a few degrees when you leave the house and unplugging appliances that are not being used.

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