The Rolling Blackout Revue: ERCOT's Having Oncor Turn Out the Lights. But For How Long?

Categories: News, Weather
outages_map_metro.jpg
The latest Oncor outage map, which you can see updated here
Several Friends of Unfair Park have asked about reports of a rolling blackout, courtesy Oncor at the behest of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Sure enough: Says ERCOT spokesperson Dottie Roark on her outgoing message, "We are doing rotating outages or rolling blackouts. We don't know how long those will last at this time. It's due to loss of several units over the night because of the extreme weather conditions. We sent a news release to the media asking public for conservation." (That release is after the jump.)

Yeah, but how long will this temporary outage last?

"We don't know how long this will last."

Oncor spokesperson Jeamy Molina tells Unfair Park this morning that the request "kinda came very rapidly, and we had to comply with what ERCOT wants." But she doesn't call it a rolling blackout. Rather, says Molina, "It's called load shedding, and it's a very structured manner where we carefully select feeders to go out for 15 minutes." Problem is, she says, there's no way for Oncor to tell customers when and where those outages will occur till it's too late.

Oncor earlier had promised to get all the power turned on by this morning. Molina says folks experiencing longer-than-15-minute outages may be having weather-related problems not caused by the temporary outage. "We still had some outages [unrelated to the ERCOT demand] this morning," she says.

All I can say is: Better get that coffee maker on now.
Power Emergency - Conservation CRITICAL--Rotating Outages Have Begun

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has instructed utilities to begin rotating outages to compensate for a generation shortage due to numerous plant trips that occurred because of the extreme weather.

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service, typically lasting 10-45 minutes per neighborhood. The locations and durations are determined by the local utilities. Critical need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes are generally not included.

It is not known at this time how long the need for rotating outages will last.

Consumers and businesses are urged to reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible, including these steps:

* Limit electricity usage to only that consumption which is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
* Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
* Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
See more conservation tips at "Powerful Advice," Public Utility Commission of Texas: www.puc.state.tx.us./ocp/conserve BACKGROUND

A Power Emergency indicates that the regional electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has instructed utilities to implement rotating outages to reduce load.

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service initiated by each utility when supplies of reserve power are exhausted. Without this safety valve, generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a region-wide outage.

Rotating outages primarily affect residential neighborhoods and small businesses and do not typically include critical-need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes.

The outages are limited to 10-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood. Some customers may experience longer outages if power surges cause equipment failure during the restoration process. Customers can minimize power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other equipment, except for one task light to determine when power has been restored.

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39 comments
Nursenancy Nl
Nursenancy Nl

We have had our power off yesterday afternoon. Power was restored. Now, @ 4am, went off again & was told it would be on @ 6 am. It is now 8 am. I try calling the report outrage line & it continues to tell me out will return.@6am. What do I do?

SONNY
SONNY

MAN ERCOT EAT UP WITH DUMB A-- IT TAKES MORE ENERGY TO GET EVERYTHING BACK ON LINE AFTER A BLACKOUT YOU HAVE THOUSANDS OF APPLIANCES RESTARTING ETC.

JAMES R. SONNY FERGUSON
JAMES R. SONNY FERGUSON

AS BIG AS TEXAS IS AND SMART PEOPLE LIVING IN IT THE ROLLING BLACKOUTS SHOULD NEVER OCCURED. I ALSO HEARD THAT THE WIND WAS BLOWING THE WIRES CAUSING THEM TO TOUCH CAUSING ELECT. OUTAGE.THIS SHOULD BE CORRECTED BECAUSE WE DO LIVE IN HURRICANE TERRITORY. SO MAYBE YOU BETTER PUT YOUR THINKING CAPS ON AND FIGURE OUT A WAY TO PREVENT FUTHER ELECT BLACKOUTS.THANKS JAMES R. SONNY FERGUSON hrly_rider_from_tx@yahoo.com

bj122
bj122

Rolling blackouts..h-m-m-m....sounds like Texans are going to be alot lighter in their wallet. I've lived in Dallas for over 20 years amd I've seen worse weather, but I've never seen rolling blackouts. Go rent a documentay called the smartest guys in the room; its very enlightening.

Hilllbillle
Hilllbillle

dam funny how that map you got doesn't show a single outage at 175/635 area, where we were blacked out at least half-dozen times.

Hilllbillle
Hilllbillle

our power in southeast dallas was blacked out a half dozen times. in normal weather we seldom go 2 weeks without the power going off.preston hollow, where boy george lives or any stoopidbowl events get preference for power. hey big brother.

Autos4all
Autos4all

Please note the richest areas of DFW (ie.) Southlake, Flower Mound, Coppell, etc. were not shut off at all. My office in Las Colinas never lost power, but my house in South Arlington was turned off and on all day. Now my computer and DVR systems are both fried even though they are on surge protectors because my kids didn't know to unplug them. Hmmm. I say Class action lawsuit! Anyone wanna join in?

Truthforlibs
Truthforlibs

"Never let a crisis go to waste". Now we know why we don't want those smart meters!Do you suppose the North Texas grid was selling to Chicago and the East Coast yesterday because it surely wasn't all that cold here!

A maintenance man who works for ONCOR wrote on NBCDFW site (see Drudge Report) that when pipes are cleaned in the summer, winter insulation is not replaced. Could be the problem.

Engineerative
Engineerative

So the generating Plants failed at the time of day where load is the lowest, regardless of the weather, When most all business was closed, and most home owners were asleep, even when taking the extreme weather into account, I would find it very unlikely this was due to "numerous Plant trips" during the lowest usage time. At the time they "rolling blackout" started, our National power grid would have been at it entire lowest usage for all four US times zones , even given the weather. Someone at Oncor, or higher up is lying, or a very screwed up "test" attempt went very wrong, or they sold a generating surplus to another grid customer/supplier and botched the transfer. Do these people drive car's, vote, etc?..scary

Montemalone
Montemalone

Does anybody know of the power went out on Daria Pl?

Larry
Larry

What a fiasco. Exactly how do power plants become "compromised" when it turns cold???

Heads need to roll at Oncor and some of these other so-called providers.

Granny
Granny

What a lot of rot. We lived in Minnesota for many years, and never HEARD of rolling blackouts because of "cold weather."

Incidentally, we here in north Oak Cliff had not had even ONE loss of power.

KrisinFrisco
KrisinFrisco

Seeing as Texas consumers in our deregulated power monopoly where ERCOT controls 85% of the market and the elimination of real choice and competition has left Texans paying above the national average, many points in the year paying more than double the national average, that it would seem somewhat equitable that if we pay the most we should have the infrastructure to show for it. Other than getting less bang for our buck, rather gouged, I find it inexcusable that the power generation plants aren't properly weatherized and we allegedly lost 10% of our production capability because pipes froze.

When I look and see that Reuters is reporting that speculators shot up the wholesale price of Texas' energy from $50 per magawatt hour to $2,000 per megawatt hour and knowing that I and my neighbors pay cost plus for our power I know my power bill is going up and there's little I can do about it.

When I see that since deregulation the only bills passed by the Texas legislature are bill to allow the power monopoly to tack on fees costing Texans additional billions of dollars a year this fact simply enforces that there's little I can do about it.

When I hear that the Super Bowl events keep their power uninterrupted while my fellow Texans are stuck on trains, gasping for air because their oxygen machine needs power to operate, families are huddled in their cars because their home is below 50 degrees inside, businesses can't do business, etc. I become furious.

With so much anger in America today I think Texans are certainly warranted and have incontrovertible evidence supporting our need to change our deregulated power monopoly that freezes us when it's freezing, cooks us when it's roasting and gouges us more than citizens in the other 49 States pay with the help of the politicians whose campaigns they bankroll in exchange for setting up the system that delivered the customer-no-service we see today.

There's a body count and human misery index from this storm... and its numbers will be higher than it should have been.

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

*Now* can we build a few more nuke plants, please? They don't make CO2 and they don't care about natural gas availability.

trashtalk
trashtalk

Everyone seems to have amnesia regarding our "deregulated" utility environment. The deal made by Steven Wolens was that in exchange for doubling our electricity rates, there would be huge investment in the grid, i.e., it's supposed to work when it gets cold.

Seems instead we pay double for the same crappy system. Kind of like paying double for the superintendent in Dallas and not getting any leadership there either.

Don't suppose the "deregulation" spiel was actually about stealing us blind while not getting any better service in return?

Boredkid
Boredkid

It is every hour in Addison. Starts at 15 min to the new hour then comes back at the start of the hour.

Clark
Clark

Just another day I'm glad I don't live in Cedar Hill or Duncanville.

R2 in LH
R2 in LH

SE Dallas seems to be getting hit hard as well. No black outs at all in Lake Highlands but SE Dallas has had five (5) already today. How about black outs in the Bubble?

 Cold in the Hollow
Cold in the Hollow

We're in the Preston Hollow area. Just had our 3rd or 4th blackout. Near WT White, my parents have yet to have one.

How in the world will there be school tomorrow with the heat and lights shutting off periodically?

Please tell me the hospitals are not included in these blackouts.

smijca
smijca

I have experienced 5 rolling blackouts total starting at 8 am and then one each hour after. Each one has lasted 10 minutes at the most and I'm in the Parkland/Southwestern Medical Center district. I too think that some areas (not naming names) are receiving more blackouts than others.

JC
JC

I'm in McKinney and just came back from my second outage. The 1st was 45 minutes, and the 2nd was an hour and a half. 15 minutes my ass!

Scottb
Scottb

More power to them. Live in SW dallas, btw not served by JWP,and just finished my fourth "load shedding" event. My co-worker in Grand Prairie has not experienced one outage yet at his home. Tired of this crap!

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Is it my imagination, or do the blackouts really seem biased to target Dallas over Fort Worth?

Missed DART thanks to blackout
Missed DART thanks to blackout

It is incredibly stupid and dangerous that DART does not have a way to get around this -- so when roads are dangerous and we are told to stay off the roads, we get DART with rolling blackouts....Brilliance! So much for "not affecting critical services...."Cant DART and ERCOT figure this out? Guess not....

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Checking the map, it looks like most of the outages are in SW Dallas Co, I give you 20 bucks once this is said and done JWP and Royce "Da 5'9" West will be pissing blood and vinegar finding out why "their peoples" were targeted instead of the folks downtown...

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

I can personally testify that being in the shower during a rolling blackout is not the time to have a tankless water heater.

NewsDog
NewsDog

We just went through our second 15 minute non voluntary power down this morning. In Irving, Beltline and 635.

LaceyB
LaceyB

We've been experiencing test blackouts (on our 3rd). Every time things go on and off, the fire alarm makes this loud "BEEP!" and my mini-beagle shakes with fright. Could you tell Oncor to stop scaring my baby?

Howie Isaacks
Howie Isaacks

The stupidest part of this is that, apparently non one at ERCOT seems to understand that our heating systems, and refrigerators will run longer after the power comes back up. This negates any supposed gains that they think we'll get from the outages. I wonder of Dottie Roark is getting these outages too. Probably not.

Not Suprised!
Not Suprised!

Gots to keep the negros warm! Superbowl=Football=Negros Dart trains......Negros Mexicans.......Gots to keep them minorities warm!

Montemalone
Montemalone

Why, the markets regulate themselves.See, the way it works: Wall St. investment suits issue bonds to buy TXU, pay themselves exhorbitant fees. Change name to Oncor, pay themselves exhorbitant fees. Raise rates, with Texas' blessing, to cover interest payments on bonds, pay themselves exhorbitant fees. When markets tank, oil skyrockets, and Pickens gets gas, throw up hands and pay themselves exhorbitant fees. Use exhorbitant fees to buy natural gas generators so when power goes out, theirs don't.

Autos4all
Autos4all

My wife is a nurse, and yes... They were/are included in the blackouts...

Noemailat
Noemailat

The bias in in the form of the Superbowl. Cowboy stadium has SEVERAL electrical feeds from Oncor. During a regular peak season, The staduim uses enough electricity for 21 walmarts. With the Superbowl, the amount is multiplied. Cowboy Stadium and all Superbowl venues ARE EXEMPT from the Blackout. While hospital that take care of patients in critical conditions, rely on a backup generator. The elderly experience complications with receiving oxygen as result. Roads leading to and from the stadium receives preferential treatment while other roads remain dangerous.....EVERYTHING SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Im noticing SW dallas CO is getting targeting more than the rest of the city...

trashtalk
trashtalk

No, welcome to a Jeff Skilling, enron-look-alike energy environment where consumers are stooges for those brokering power deals.

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