ERCOT Responds to Hurricane Harvey
3 p.m., Sept. 6, 2017
While power restoration efforts will continue for an extended period in some areas, the number of impacted transmission facilities and generation resources has decreased considerably since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Aug. 25. The ERCOT grid has remained stable, and competitive electricity markets have continued to operate normally.
This will be ERCOT’s final update to this page regarding impacts to operations from Hurricane Harvey. Specific updates will be available from local transmission and distribution providers as restoration efforts continue on their affected systems. For more information about ERCOT’s preparations and response, please refer to our Report Concerning Impacts of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, which was prepared for the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
11 a.m., Sept. 1, 2017
While certain areas will continue to experience outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the ERCOT electric system remains stable and competitive markets are in operation.
Two major 345-kV transmission lines still remain out of service, including one in the Houston area, while the number of other high-voltage transmission lines that remain out has decreased to 55. Approximately 30 lines have been restored since the previous update on Aug. 30.
About 7,500 MW of generation resource capacity remains unavailable or is operating at reduced capacity, but this level of generation outages does not pose a reliability concern for the ERCOT system at this time.
Although the upcoming Labor Day weekend is expected to be warm and humid, peak load is forecast to be well below ERCOT’s peak demand record set in August 2016 (71,110 MW on Aug. 11, 2016). Peak demand is forecast to reach or exceed 56,000 MW today and 55,000 MW on Saturday and Sunday. ERCOT currently anticipates sufficient generation will be available to keep up with rising demand.
ERCOT continues to focus on maintaining overall grid reliability, working closely with transmission and generation providers throughout the restoration process.
As power is restored and residents begin to assess their homes and businesses, please keep in mind the dangers associated with flooded electrical equipment and take precautions to stay safe. The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers several safety tips to consider.
ERCOT also has provided to the Public Utility Commission of Texas a Report Concerning Impacts of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey.
1 p.m., Aug. 30, 2017
The ERCOT grid remains in stable condition following Hurricane Harvey, and ERCOT competitive markets continue to operate.
Restoration continues where possible on the electric transmission and distribution facilities serving the affected regions. Two major 345-kV transmission lines remain out of service, including one in the Houston area, as well as 85 other high-voltage transmission lines in the affected areas.
About 7,600 MW of generation resource capacity is out of service, and some other units are operating at reduced capacity, for reasons related to the storm. However, this level of generation outages does not pose a reliability concern for the ERCOT system at this time.
Electricity demand in the ERCOT region is starting to increase as some service is restored and temperatures begin to rise. ERCOT currently anticipates sufficient generation will be available to keep up with rising demand, which is forecast to reach between 51,000 and 52,000 MW today.
ERCOT operations will continue to focus on maintaining overall grid reliability, working closely with transmission and generation providers throughout the restoration process.
System restoration times will vary depending on the extent of damage and location of the outage. Continued flooding will delay restoration in many areas, and new outages are likely to occur as flooding continues, along with additional impact from damaged trees.
Visit these sites to access recent outage updates in the ERCOT region:
- AEP Texas: https://www.aeptexas.com/info/news/NewsReleases.aspx
- CenterPoint Energy: http://www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/residential/safety/weather-storm-center?WT.ac=Harvey&sa=HO
- South Texas Electric Cooperative: http://outage.stec.org/gridvu/
- Texas-New Mexico Power: http://m.tnmp.com/pages/harv.html
Access additional outage information through the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) at www.puc.texas.gov/agency/resources/HurricaneHarvey2017.aspx.
In addition to safety reminders noted in previous updates, please be aware that voltage may still be present even if service is disconnected. Additionally, after power is restored, appliances and electronic equipment that have been submerged need to dry at least a week and should be checked by a qualified repair person prior to use.
5 p.m., Aug. 28, 2017
The ERCOT grid continues to be in stable condition following Hurricane Harvey. However, several transmission lines remain out of service, especially near Corpus Christi and Victoria where Hurricane Harvey made landfall.
Two major 345-kV transmission lines serving the Gulf Coast area are still out of service, along with many other high-voltage transmission lines. As of mid-day today, a little more than 6,700 MW of generation capacity, including a very small percentage of renewables, was off-line for reasons related to the storm. This level of generation outages does not pose a reliability concern for the ERCOT system at this time.
Electricity demand in the days since landfall has been about 20,000 megawatts (MW) below typical August electricity use, peaking at less than 44,000 MW, due to a combination of structural damage along the coast and cooler temperatures in much of the region.
ERCOT operations will continue to focus on overall grid reliability during the restoration process, while transmission and distribution providers make repairs to power lines and electrical equipment. Additional engineers have been on site around the clock throughout the hurricane and tropical storm to support these operations and stay in constant communication with transmission and generation suppliers.
System restoration times will vary depending on the extent of damage and location of the outage, as well as weather conditions in the coming days.
To help prevent a power surge when power is restored, ERCOT recommends unplugging anything that requires a significant amount of electricity, such as large appliances and electronics. For safety reasons, residents in flooded areas should have electronics and appliances checked by a repair person before using. Additionally, when possible, have a licensed electrician handle turning circuit breakers on and off.
9 a.m., Aug. 27, 2017
Conditions in the ERCOT region have remained steady over the past 24 hours. ERCOT continues to see widespread transmission outages, especially near Corpus Christi and Victoria.
While power to some areas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey Friday night have been restored, new outages are likely over the next several days as the tropical storm dumps heavy rains in other parts of the ERCOT region, including the Houston area.
ERCOT continues to work with transmission and generation owners to protect the overall reliability of the grid. We will continue to provide updates if system conditions change.
As a reminder, please stay away from downed power lines, as they may be energized. They should be reported immediately to your local electric service provider.
5 p.m., Aug. 26, 2017
Consumer outages due to Hurricane Harvey, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm, have decreased slightly to less than 300,000. Outage numbers may fluctuate in the coming days as transmission providers continue to work to restore power safely in affected areas. System conditions overall remain stable. Area residents are reminded to avoid contact with downed power lines, which could be energized, and report them promptly to local electric utilities. Unless conditions change overnight, ERCOT will provide the next update the morning of Aug. 27.
2 p.m., Aug. 26, 2017
ERCOT is seeing widespread transmission line outages along the coastal areas in the storm’s path, from Corpus Christi up toward the Houston area. We currently estimate more than 300,000 customers are still without power based on reports from transmission providers in the affected areas.
Transmission providers are assessing the damage and making repairs where and when it is possible to do so safely. Extended outages are likely in most affected areas.
ERCOT continues to monitor the situation and communicate with transmission and generation owners to assess the impacts of the hurricane and manage overall system reliability.
Heavy rain is expected to continue through the weekend and into next week. Tornadoes may also cause damage as the storm progresses.
Please avoid any downed power lines resulting from the storm and contact authorities if you see them.
7:20 a.m., August 26, 2017
The number of outages in the ERCOT region has increased to more than 293,000 customers. Approximately 157 circuits are out of service.
6:30 a.m., August 26, 2017
More than 213,000 consumers are currently without power on the Texas Gulf Coast due to effects from Hurricane Harvey. Approximately 140 circuits are out of service.
1 a.m., August 26, 2017
More than 211,000 consumers are currently without power on the Texas Gulf Coast due to effects from Hurricane Harvey. Landfall occurred near Rockport just after 10 p.m. Widespread transmission outages, with more than 100 circuits currently out of service.
7 p.m., August 25, 2017
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has issued an emergency notice for Hurricane Harvey, which has reached Category 4 status and is expected to make landfall late Friday evening. The storm has already begun to impact the electric system, and more than 70,000 customers are without power as a result. In addition to wind-related damage, the hurricane is expected to cause significant flooding in the South, South Central and Coastal weather zones in the ERCOT region. This includes the cities of Houston, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Austin and San Antonio. ERCOT System Operations is working 24/7 to monitor the situation and manage the electric grid to ensure overall system reliability.
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).
Local Utility Information
Contact your local electric service provider to report downed power lines in your area. To find out if you need to report an outage, check websites below for more information.
- AEP Texas: 877-373-4858
- Austin Energy: 512-322-9100
- Bandera Electric Cooperative: 866-226-3372
- Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative: 800-949-4414
- Brazos Electric Power Cooperative: 254-750-6500
- Brownsville Public Utilities Board: 956-983-6300
- Bryan Texas Utilities: 979-822-3777
- CenterPoint Energy: 800-332-7143 (Please limit calls to downed power lines and natural gas emergencies.)
- College Station Utilities: 855-528-4278
- CPS Energy–San Antonio: 210-353-4357
- Denton Municipal Electric: 940-349-7000
- Garland Power & Light: 972-205-3000
- Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative: 800-223-4832
- LCRA: 800-223-7622
- Magic Valley Electric Cooperative: 866-225-5683
- Nueces Electric Cooperative: 800-632-9288
- Oncor: 888-313-4747
- Pedernales Electric Cooperative: 888-883-3379
- Rayburn County Electric Cooperative: 469-402-2100
- Sharyland Utilities: 800-545-4513
- South Texas Electric Cooperative: 888-480-3534
- Texas-New Mexico Power: 888-866-7456
- ERCOT Information
- ERCOT Austin: 512-225-7000
- ERCOT Taylor: 512-248-3000
- Public Utility Commission of Texas
- PUC Consumer Hotline: 1-888-782-8477
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ERCOT’s role?
ERCOT is the electric grid operator for the majority of Texas. We ensure the reliability of the bulk transmission system, which consists of high-voltage transmission lines and the generating units that feed into the transmission system. ERCOT does not have jurisdiction over the local, lower-voltage distribution lines that are connected directly to homes and businesses.
Our job is to make sure generation matches the demand for electricity at all times, transmission lines do not become overloaded, and adequate generation reserves are available in case of unexpected events. This can be especially challenging during an extreme weather event, when major transmission lines and generation facilities are subject to disruption from storm damage.
Who is responsible for getting my power back on?
Your local electric provider is responsible for repairing any damage and restoring power. If any part of the high-voltage bulk transmission system has been disabled, ERCOT will work with transmission providers and generation owners in the market to ensure power is restored safely and protect the system from further damage.
Why is there a power outage in my neighborhood?
Outages may sometimes occur even if there is no issue with the bulk transmission system managed by ERCOT. During a hurricane, high winds could cause structural damage as well as fallen limbs and debris that can come in contact with power lines. These conditions can cause power outages. Your local electric provider would be responsible for repairing the damage to its system and restoring electricity. In some cases, this process may take several days.
What should I do if my power is out?
In most areas, report your outage to your local utility. In some areas, smart meters will notify your utility of the outage. (CenterPoint Energy has asked consumers not to report outages via phone so lines remain open for emergencies associated with downed power lines and natural gas. Smart meters will automatically provide outage information.) Unplug anything that requires a significant amount of electricity, such as large appliances and electronics, to help prevent power surges when power is restored. It also can be helpful to leave a lamp on so you know when service is restored.
What is ERCOT’s biggest challenge during a hurricane?
Grid operators must be prepared to respond to sudden and dramatic losses of electric load, which can occur when a transmission line or substation is disabled by storm damage. They must also be prepared to respond to the sudden loss of a generating unit due to storm damage. In these cases, ERCOT operators will instruct other generators to adjust their output to make up for the loss.
Is ERCOT the grid operator for the entire Gulf Coast?
No. The ERCOT region includes 75 percent of the Texas land area, including all of the Gulf Coast except the Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange area, and points north. That section of East Texas is served by Entergy Gulf States, Inc., and is part of the eastern U.S. grid interconnection.
Does ERCOT own and maintain the power lines?
No, ERCOT does not own generating units or transmission lines. Transmission lines are owned and maintained by the transmission operators. In most cases, the transmission owner also owns the local distribution lines in your neighborhood.
Will the ERCOT markets continue to operate during a severe weather event?
Yes, ERCOT continues to operate the competitive electric markets unless they are overtaken by emergency events. If the markets need to be suspended, ERCOT will still have the authority to take steps to ensure the reliability of the bulk electric system.
Can you tell me which generators are impacted by the hurricane?
Unfortunately, ERCOT is unable to provide information about specific generating facilities. Generation owners are implementing their own hurricane procedures to ensure the safety of their staff and equipment. ERCOT remains focused on maintaining system reliability throughout the entire ERCOT region.
What has happened to the grid in previous hurricanes?
Hurricane Ike made landfall in the Houston area in September 2008. During that time, the Houston area load dropped by about 10,000 megawatts. It is worth noting that load had already decreased prior to the hurricane since the city had been evacuated.
Hurricane Rita struck the eastern coast of Texas in 2005, causing significant electric outages in the region. However, most of the affected areas were not in the ERCOT region.
While the final outcome of what is now Tropical Storm Harvey is not yet known, widespread flooding is anticipated in several portions of the ERCOT region, and tornadoes can cause additional system damage.
What should I do if I have a medical emergency?
If you need electricity to power medical equipment and are in an affected area, please seek alternatives for your safety..
If you are having a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.
What is ERCOT?
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 24 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 570+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 7 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.