News Release

February 09, 2011

Power Watch Continues; Record Demand Anticipated

Conservation Needed Tonight, Tomorrow Morning

February 9, 2011 – Consumers and businesses are encouraged to conserve electricity during peak demand hours from 4-8 p.m. tonight and 6-9 a.m. tomorrow to help reduce the risk of electricity emergencies or the need for rotating outages.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for the state-wide bulk transmission grid, is forecasting a peak demand of nearly 57,000 megawatts (MW), between 8 and 9 pm, Wednesday, and more than 58,000 MW between 7-8 a.m. on Thursday.  Both would surpass the current winter record – 56,334 MW which occurred Feb. 2, between 7 and 8 p.m.

“The most critical times will be this evening and in the morning,” said CEO Trip Doggett.  “While we project to have enough generation to meet demand, a significant number of generation outages, such as we experienced last week, could change that outlook, so we appreciate your continued support by reducing your energy consumption where possible.”

As an added precaution, ERCOT is purchasing additional generation capacity for real-time operations to help maintain reliable delivery of power during this extreme weather event. 

All but 1,764 MW of the 7,000 MW of generation capacity unavailable last week during the Feb. 2 grid emergency has been restored. 

More information about rotating outages

Rotating Outages FAQ

Rotating outages are the last step in a progressive series of emergency procedures that ERCOT follows according to reliability rules. ERCOT only calls for rotating outages as a final fail-safe measure to avoid an uncontrolled blackout across the entire state.

Consumers who have questions about how rotating outages are implemented in their local area need to need to call the transmission / distribution service provider listed on their electric bill – not the retail electric provider.   While each transmission/distribution service provider submits an emergency plan to ERCOT, ERCOT has no control over, or knowledge of, individual customer outages. 

CONSERVATION TIPS

  • Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
  • Turn off and un-plug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers, and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours.
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • 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.

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

http://www.puc.state.tx.us/agency/conserve/Constips.aspx

WHO TO CALL FOR OUTAGE INFORMATION?

For information about the how the utilities implement rotating outages and exemptions, call the transmission and distribution service provider on your electric bill. 

Consumer Assistance Hotline

Public Utility Commission Hotline – 1-888-782-8777

Utility Information

Check your electric bill to identify your utility company or transmission provider.

American Electric Power - AEP

Austin Energy

Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative 

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative

Brownsville Public Utilities Board

Bryan Texas Utilities

CenterPoint Energy

College Station Utilities

CPS Energy – San Antonio

Denton Municipal Electric

Garland Power & Light

LCRA

Magic Valley Electric Cooperative

Nueces Electric Cooperative 

Oncor

Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Rayburn County Electric Cooperative

Sharyland Utilities

South Texas Electric Cooperative

Texas-New Mexico Power

 

ERCOT Region

The ERCOT Region includes Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Abilene and the Rio Grande Valley.  It does not include the El Paso area, the Texas Panhandle, Northeast Texas (Longview, Marshall and Texarkana), and Southeast Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur, and the Woodlands).  Find region maps at this link.

Additional updates will be distributed to the News Bulletins list and posted on the ERCOT website when we have new information.   To sign up for news releases, go to the Email List Manager (http://lists.ercot.com) and select "News_Bulletins."

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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to approximately 22 million Texas customers – representing 85 percent of the state''s electric load and 75 percent of the Texas land area.  As the Independent System Operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units.  ERCOT also manages financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers customer switching for 6.5 million Texans 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. 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 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 650+ 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.

Contact

media@ercot.com

512-275-7432