ERCOT: System recovering, threat of rolling outages has passed

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by MARJORIE OWENS

WFAA

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 6:19 PM

DALLAS — More than two hours after ERCOT issued an emergency power warning across Texas, the system returned to normal Monday.

At about 7 a.m., the Electric Reliability Council of Texas warned residents to conserve power in an effort to prevent rolling blackouts. About an hour later, the agency that governs the state's power grid said the threat passed and downgraded from an emergency level two to one.

“We have brought on all available electric generation and have deployed all demand response programs that have contracted with ERCOT to reduce electric use in emergency situations,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations. “Conditions appear to be improving at this time, and we do not expect to implement rotating outages this morning."

However, ERCOT continued to urge customers to conserve energy. 

"Consumers can help by turning off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances, raising thermostats two degrees and ensuring pool pumps are not operating during peak demand hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.," ERCOT said.

According to ERCOT's site, an Energy Emergency Alert 1 is issued when there's an "extremely high electricity demand or unexpected loss of large generation units." ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy says frigid temperatures across much of the state resulted in high electric use.

The system was reported back to normal at about 9:30 a.m. 

The last time a winter event spurred rolling blackouts was during Super Bowl week in 2011. The demand set a record for a winter event: 57,282 megawatts. On Monday, Texans used 55,486, said Woodfin. The all-time peak demand stands at 65,000 megawatts, which the state reached during a summer event. 

Two power generating units were forced offline because of weather, which caused ERCOT to take 13,000 megawatts offline. Woodfin would not identify where the generators were located. 

ERCOT had to import 800 megawatts of power from the eastern U.S. electric grid and 180 megawatts from Mexico. Woodfin asked residents to continue to conserve because he anticipates similar load levels Tuesday morning. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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