Rotating outages could be possible due to extreme cold weather throughout the state over the next few days. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is predicting record-breaking winter electricity demand that may cause tight grid conditions. If any electricity generating units trip offline, grid conditions could get tight enough to require rotating outages.
This is what happened back in February 2011 – the last time ERCOT required rotating outages. During that freeze, 50 generating units tripped offline due to sagging, ice-laden lines. When there wasn’t enough electricity available to meet demand, ERCOT made the tough call to implement rotating outages.
Rotating outages are a last resort measure to protect the grid. If ERCOT calls on utilities to implement these outages, SPEC has to comply.
Hopefully we won’t repeat history over the next few days. But if we do, keep in mind that these outages are just temporary –typically 10 to 45 minutes—before rotating to a different area. More importantly, they could help prevent a larger and much longer statewide blackout.