ERCOT Warns: Conserve Power Now or Risk "Controlled Temporary Interruptions" Later

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ERCOT
This just in from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas: Adjust your thermostats to 78 or higher now -- or, at the very least, between 3 and 7 p.m. -- or the whole state runs the risk of brownouts later. Why? Well, sure -- it's hot, hot, hotter than hell. But, according to a statement issued by Kent Saathoff, vice president of grid operations and system planning, the grid's running over peak today due to "unexpected unit outages." (Including at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, reports Elizabeth Souder, which was shut down Monday due to "unplanned maintenance," which never sounds good.) From the EROCT release:
"If a high electricity demand or loss of additional large generation units causes our reserve power to be below the target threshold, the operators will begin emergency procedures to maintain system reliability," Saathoff said.

The emergency procedures are a progressive series of steps that allow ERCOT to bring on power from other grids if available (Energy Emergency Alert Level 1). If the situation does not improve, ERCOT escalates to a Power Warning (Energy Emergency Alert Level 2), allowing operators to drop large commercial/industrial load resources under contract to be interrupted during an emergency.

If the capacity shortage is not relieved by the contract demand response, ERCOT escalates to a Power Emergency (EEA Level 3) and will instruct utilities to reduce demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level. These controlled temporary interruptions of electrical service -- or rotating outages -- typically last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.
And I think we all remember what that actually means.

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54 comments
Anonymous
Anonymous

Well as long as the heavy industry and office buildings that cause the energy shortage don't get affected, I can sleep well at night knowing that all is right with the world.Seriously - you would be laughed at if you suggested office workers turn the thermostat up a few degrees in the afternoon. I say keep your thermostat at home wherever the hell you want it, though you are the idiot if you want to pay for cold air while you are not home.

roo ster
roo ster

I am so glad Laura Miller and her fellow Luddites lobbied so hard against the coal-fired power plants a few years back.  Any of y'all in the tonier parts of town see her out & about, slap her with a dead fish for me and I'll owe you one.

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

Summer in Dallas: take a coat to the office.  My GF has cow-orkers who use space heaters in their offices because building management can't be bothered to balance their HVAC system properly.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Just wait until the school year begins and DISD cranks up its AC!Since we seem to have 2 AC settings in the district ("off" or "58 degrees"), teachers have to open all windows to warm up the rooms, thus sending all that AC off into the ether.Instead of spending $57 million on hotel rooms and meals, etc, maybe our school board could have fixed the ventilation systems in the schools instead? And maybe helped out the citizens who need their fair share of energy also?At least with the rolling blackouts we won't need mittens all day.  In September.

Half Wit
Half Wit

I usually turn my computer off before completing blog posting in the Dallas Obser

TimCov
TimCov

One thing I've been doing is cooking outside as much as possible. I've been cooking breakfast lunch and dinner on my grill. It makes a real difference in how warm the house gets.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I think everyone missed the real up shot of this.  In California power plants were shut down to spike the energy prices.  Don't think, now that we have "deregulation" that we will see price spikes that results in over a billion dollars in over-charges.  I love throwing these markers out there, might be wrong, but the cynicism is strong in me, I can feel these things.

Cowtown
Cowtown

I am going to go sit in the lobby of ERCOT headquarters. I bet that they will never be hit by the rolling blackouts...

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Its why I always turn the air up to 80 and shut down all my systems during this time of year..

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Buying CFLs would contribute to power conservation. A teaparty paradox!

Raydan2647
Raydan2647

I lived in Chicago for the big brownout that killed over 700 people back in the late 1990's. The morgue ran out of room so they had to rent 18 wheelers to store the bodies. About a week or so later, Mayor Daley called ComEd into his office. They left his office without their testicles and then they spent 3 billion over the next two years to upgrade the power grid around Chicago. Now that's a mayor, baby.

MattL1
MattL1

Who keeps their thermostat below 78?  That's just greedy.

Kevin Kirby
Kevin Kirby

Thank God we privatized the electric utilities, and now have a robust infrastructure worthy of the 21st century. A utopia of electric power, really.

stu
stu

It means Corinth's first blackout will be over 2 hours followed by 4 more blackouts. 

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Turn up your thermostats, don't water your yard, take quick showers, and oh by the way, we gotta drill the hell out of this state anyway so shut the frack up.

Amy S.
Amy S.

Taking my laptop and sitting in the car?

Wes Scott
Wes Scott

It is a matter of efficiency - it costs less to keep a room cool than to coll a warm or hot room.

scottindallas
scottindallas

that's why school ain't in the middle of Summer.

Nunya
Nunya

Try the microwave. Quick and efficient.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Don't the eggs fall through the grate?

Montemalone
Montemalone

The only paradox the tea party knows are the two that get checks from Medicare for seeing them.

MattL1
MattL1

So, I guess a lot of people do, and for a variety of good reasons!

TimCov
TimCov

I do because my mother-in-law lives with us and can't take the heat.

John_McKee
John_McKee

I keep my house at 69, window heat during the day sometimes pushes it up to 74.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I do, I keep mine at 70 bc if not the unit in my apartment wont cool at all, I mean it runs at 70 but its still 86 in my apt right now.  If it shut off, it might take me a month to get it cooled from 98 back to 86

samplerayt
samplerayt

Yeah, it reduced the consumers costs as well, just like the politicians said it would. The only savings I've seen is the cost of the stamp as I can pay the bill online.    

John_McKee
John_McKee

The quick showers help with the contaminated water from all the drilling.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Is it bad to blog on a laptop while sitting in an ice bath?

Wes Scott
Wes Scott

Oops! That should have read it costs less to keep a room cool than to cool a warm or hot room. Sometimes, the warmer temperatures make my fingers go crazy on the keyboard.

TimCov
TimCov

It still uses electricity, doesn't brown the food, and doesn't taste the same. I rarely use the microwave, except for defrosting things and heating water.

TimCov
TimCov

Don't the eggs fall through the burner on your stove?

MattL1
MattL1

74!  Wow, I haven't felt that temperature since I stayed in a hotel a month ago and cranked the thing down to 55.  It was the best sleep I've gotten all summer.

scottindallas
scottindallas

you might try cleaning the coils, having the freon checked and change the filter.

MattL1
MattL1

That sucks.  I genuinely feel sorry for you while simultaneously feeling grateful that my apartment actually stays fairly cool.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Depends on whats in the ice.Bourbon? or Scotch?

Anonymous
Anonymous

my home is "occupied" during the day so I've never had to test it. when we had a small apartment I felt like it didn't take too much time to cool back down so I figured the cost was minimal.

TimCov
TimCov

This is what I do. I also bake and just about everything else using my propane grill.

scottindallas
scottindallas

when I fry, I fry on the grill.  We use an old cast iron dutch oven to fry with usually, and it works great on the grill.  Actually now have those cartridge propane burners, but used the grill till then.

John_McKee
John_McKee

So wait, you are asking me to sacrifice something I enjoy for the greatergood of a community, that doesn't care if I like a cold house, but justwants to enjoy a peaceful evening at home without being disturbed?

scottindallas
scottindallas

well, tomorrow, why don't cha turn it up a couple 'o ticks, through the afternoon.  You can still sleep in the cold if you wish

John_McKee
John_McKee

I dunno, how do you feel about sleeping on cold marble floors?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

He lives by the AAC wobert, dont you remember him getting ripped for complaining 'bout the noise 'round there during mavs party time

John_McKee
John_McKee

It's glorious, down comforter year around, little dog cuddled up to me for warmth, it's great sleeping.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Go w/ Gexa energy. Get a fixed rate contract and ask for a monthly average bill. I'm also in a 2nd floor apt but these were built in the early '70s before insulation was even a consideration. Keep my A/C at 78 and my current monthly bill is $86.00

MattL1
MattL1

It can be a word, but I'd probably just go with "comfort."

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

yeah the only thing that sucks is my $220 electricity bill for a 900 sq ft apt.  But im willing to pay for my comfortableness ( is that even a word?)

MattL1
MattL1

Yeah, it's tough to keep a place cool under those circumstances.

I did so once, yes, and I don't really care if you're mean to me.  I'm not 100% sold on what I wrote anyway.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

thanks, and no matter how many times they "fix it" it stays just the same.  It truly is an insulation problem, Im on the 2nd floor of a 2 story building that takes direct sunlight to the roof all day built in the 80's and Ive seen what in the open space above and it not much.Oh and are you the MattL commenting on andrea's blog too, if so, Im not meaning to be mean to you with my response over there

samplerayt
samplerayt

Or maybe fill the tub full of margaritas.  Frozen, of course.

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