San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 2nd, 2011
Blackouts roll through San Marcos


ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ordered rolling power brownouts Wednesday in San Marcos and across Texas as part of a statewide response to heavy power demand caused by cold winter weather.

The brownouts are a pre-planned load response triggered by heavy electric usage. Rolling brownouts are controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service, lasting 10-45 minutes per neighborhood.

“These brownouts are performed to prevent uncontrolled, widespread blackouts across the state,” said Tom Taggart, Director of Public Services.

Circuits feeding various sections of town from three substations in San Marcos have been subject to the rolling brownouts. Traffic signals will be affected by the brownouts and will be restored to normal function when repowered.

Residents are also reporting water service freezes of their home systems, which may require thawing or the assistance of plumbers. The city has suspended meter reading to avoid having meters freeze, Taggart said.

If people lose power, it should be restored in about 45 minutes. If power remains out over an hour, customers may call 512-393-8313 for assistance.

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3 thoughts on “Blackouts roll through San Marcos

  1. While I don’t know the official difference between a black-out and a brown-out, mine were black-outs and they did not inconvenience me at all. I did have a big, fat chicken cooking in the oven during one of those black-outs, but it turned out fine, so good that I may consider turning off my oven in the future half way through its cooking time. Personally, I would rather face rolling black-outs than buy power from Mexico. ERCOT seems to be a pretty closed system in terms information coming out of it, and I do not know if ERCOT dictates when and where each circuit goes down and for how long. Those decisions may be up to PEC, Bluebonnet and Austin Energy. Whoever, it might be useful to know through some website when, where and how long some future black-out would occur. This was maybe a quarter-century storm event, but had I had a souffle in the oven, I would have been more PO’ed.

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