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

February 2nd, 2011
ERCOT ends emergency blackouts

by BECCA AARONSON
The Texas Tribune

Power out at your house? You’ve got good company — 400,000 other Texans, as of noon today. But as of this afternoon, the lights (and heat) should be coming back on.

The demand for power — namely heat — exceeded generation capacity around midnight last night, causing more than 50 generators to shut down statewide. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the flow of electric power, ordered utilities to begin rotating power outages to prevent the escalation of uncontrolled power loss. As of about 1:30, ERCOT ended those emergency blackouts.

“Because of winter weather conditions that have created an unprecedented demand on the state’s energy grid, many Texans across our state are experiencing power outages today,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. “I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event.”

Utilities are controlling outages to prevent loss of power in critical areas with concentrations of hospitals or nursing homes. They say outages should last no more than 15 to 45 minutes per neighborhood — though regional reports are varying.

BECCA AARONSON reports for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.

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