San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 2nd, 2011
State orders rolling brownouts


San Marcos city officials said Wednesday that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has 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 San Marcos Director of Public Services Tom Taggart.

Power did go out in parts of San Marcos overnight. Some electric users in the Rio Vista neighborhood experienced a four-hour shutdown, with very brief respites, starting at 5 a.m. today.

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 also are 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 for more than an hour, customers may call (512) 393-8313 for assistance.

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