A cold snap on Monday left millions of Texans in the dark as the state’s largest electric service manager, ERCOT said almost 34,000 megawatts of electricity has been forced off the system. On average, a single megawatt can power about 500 homes.
After asking transmission providers to turn off large industrial users that had previously agreed to be shut down, the situation started deteriorating due to frigid cold temperatures, requiring rotating outages that have lasted hours for many Texans. The rolling blackouts help reduce the strain on the power grid.
An emergency declaration has been declared by President Biden and the National Guard has been deployed to help keep the most vulnerable warm through the remainder of the extreme cold weather. In addition, Texas Governor Greg Abbott also declared a state of emergency.
The Governor is also calling on the state legislature to investigate the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) about the rolling blackouts and stating a review is to get a full picture of the problems and to find solutions.
“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” said Governor Abbott. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable. Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions. I thank my partners in the House and Senate for acting quickly on this challenge, and I will work with them to enhance Texas’ electric grid and ensure that our state never experiences power outages like this again.”
“We just tell them the amount we need from an engineering, from a grid perspective, and they manage the local plan and how it’s undertaken,” stated ERCOT CEO and President Bill Magnus on Tuesday.
ATR News has reached out to ERCOT for further comment. Our request has declined at this time.
ATR News Contributing Writer Michael Lineweaver in Nashville, TN contributed to this report.