Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

February 04, 2011

Media Advisory for Valley Area

8:15 pm Update

MEDIA ADVISORY: Valley area consumers urged to conserve electricity due to extreme cold February 4, 2011, 8:15 pm -- ERCOT is asking consumers in the Valley area to reduce energy consumption this evening and during the morning peak hours to avoid the need for rolling blackouts.

Consumers and businesses are urged to reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible, including:

  • Limit electricity usage to only that consumption which is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

ERCOT would like to thank the customers in the Rio Grande Valley for their efforts in conserving electricity during the extreme cold, and we recognize that some customers may still be without power.

These conditions are expected to continue through the night and early morning. Therefore, ERCOT would appreciate continued conservation in the Valley area to help us maintain supply in that area.

This is not a state-wide problem; it is localized to the Valley area.

See more conservation tips at "Powerful Advice," Public Utility Commission of Texas:

3:00 pm Update

Valley Area Situation Improved

The emergency situation in the Valley area has been resolved at this time.  The generation units that tripped offline last night, resulting in rotating outages in the Valley area for several hours, have been returned to service.

Earlier today our operators were working to reduce load on some transmission lines in order to get them within safer operating limits.  That  situation was  resolved, and the transmission emergency for the Valley area was cancelled at 12:37 pm today.

We want to thank the consumers in the Valley area who reduced their energy consumption this morning to help avoid the necessity for more rolling blackouts,” said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett.  “ERCOT only calls for controlled rotating outages as a final fail-safe measure to avoid an uncontrolled blackout across the state.  It’s important to recognize the sacrifices of those who were without power during the rotating outages last night which helped avoid a much worse situation,” he said.  

“I also want to note the support and assistance we received from the transmission providers and generation owners in the area and also from the media who helped us get the word out to the public in the Harlingen, Brownsville and McAllen area about the need to conserve,” Doggett said.

“We don’t anticipate additional issues at this time, barring unexpected major outages, but we will continue to closely monitor the Valley area during this extremely cold weather,” Doggett said. 

5:00 am  Update

Increased risk of rolling blackouts in Valley this morning

Consumers urged to conserve to reduce necessity for outages

There is an increased risk that ERCOT will implement rolling blackouts in the Valley area as early as 6 am due to transmission import limitations to the valley as well as local generation supply uncertainties.  This is not a state-wide problem but one  localized to the Valley area.  Consumers are highly encouraged to limit their use of electricity to lessen the possibility that rotating outages will be needed to balance generation with load.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 710+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas.

ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.