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  • futureripplemovers futureripplemovers Jan 6, 2014 2:26 PM Flag

    Texas under power conservation alert amid freezing temperatures

    Texas under power conservation alert amid freezing temperatures

    Posted on January 6, 2014 at 8:08 am by Emily Pickrell

    HOUSTON — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas canceled a power emergency alert issued early Monday when freezing temperatures pushed demand, but encouraged continuing conservation as another cold night looms.

    “Cold weather will continue through tomorrow morning and we will continue to monitor conditions closely,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of system operations. “Consumers are encouraged to use electricity wisely, and a conservation alert remains in effect throughout the ERCOT region.”

    The council operates most of the state’s grid.

    A cold front pushed Houston-area temperatures down throughout the night, driving them to a low of 28 degrees by 7 a.m. That spurred demand for electricity to rise to 55,486 megawatts in the following hour, about 11,700 megawatts short of last year’s peak demand.

    One megawatt is enough to power about 500 homes under normal conditions or about 200 homes under extreme conditions.

    Winter planning: Grid planners say Texas has enough power for winter demand

    Monday morning’s demand was high enough to trigger the grid’s highest alert level before rolling blackouts are needed. A second-level emergency alert occurs when power reserves fall below 1,750 megawatts. Under those conditions, ERCOT can bring online all available power plants and can start tapping neighboring power grids.

    To ease demand on the grid Monday, ERCOT asked big industrial and commercial operators to temporarily reduce their power use. The agency also brought on all additional generation resources, Woodfin said.

    Extreme temperatures

    The National Weather Service forecasts a high temperature of 40 degrees in Houston Monday. But temperatures are expected to drop to the mid-20s Monday night.

    A similar cold snap in February 2011 triggered the last round of rolling blackouts in Texas. Power distribution companies, such as Ce

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