Hundreds of thousands of Texans without power as ERCOT …


Hundreds of thousands of Texans without power as ERCOT …

ERCOT declared its highest level of energy emergency as winter storms and extreme low temperatures affected the entire state due to record-breaking electric …

Rotating power outages underway in Texas due to energy emergency |


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Hundreds of thousands of Texans without power as ERCOT declares highest level of energy emergency, 'rotating outages' begin
ERCOT declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 on Monday morning. Rotating outages are underway to reduce demand on the electric system.

Updated at 4:45 a.m. with updates from officials on the outages.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that oversees the state’s electric grid, has declared the state of Texas at its highest energy emergency level, beginning rolling outages across the state. 

The declaration is due to lower power supply and high demand due to extreme low temperatures during the winter storm sweeping the state.

Rotating outages are underway and started at 1:25 a.m. Monday. Residents should expect to lose power for 15 to 45 minutes, though times may vary. Texans that they may experience multiple outage rotations. 

“We recognize how unsettling these outages can be and strive to minimize impacts.”

As of 4:30 a.m., more than 583,000 Oncor customers were without power in Across Texas, with more than 4,400 outages in effect.

These numbers are expected to fluctuate in the coming hours.

ERCOT expects rotating outages to last throughout Monday morning and said they could be in place until the “weather emergency ends.” The agency did not define what that would look like. 

“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.


This is the first time ERCOT has reached the EEA 3 emergency level in a decade, since February 2011.

When electric reserves drop below certain thresholds, ERCOT asks regional providers like Oncor and Reliant to turn off electricity to some neighborhoods, said Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations at ERCOT.

A message on Oncor’s site said rotating outages are in effect “due to record-breaking electric demand and reduced power generation.”

ERCOT warned that some customers may experience longer outages if power surges cause equipment failure during restoration. 

Traffic lights and other infrastructure may be impacted by the outages, officials said, urging Texans to proceed cautiously and put safety first. 

has declared an EEA 3. Energy conservation is critical. Rotating outages are underway to reduce demand on the electric system. We urge Texans to put safety first during this time. Traffic lights and other infrastructure may be temporarily without power. 01:25:40 150221


Officials said residents can help minimize power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other electricity draws, except for a single light to determine when power comes back on.

ERCOT encouraged customers without power for longer than 45 minutes to report outages by contacting Oncor at 888-313-4747 or texting OUT to 66267 if they are registered in My Oncor Alerts.

Officials continued to ask Texans Sunday to conserve as much electricity as they can safely and reliably over the coming days as record-low temperatures are expected to plunge the state further into a dangerous winter storm. 

Officials said the demand could become even greater on Monday and Tuesday. 

Texas was already seeing record-breaking electricity demands prior to temperatures dropping even further Sunday night, ERCOT officials said. 

At the same time, the grid is experiencing higher-than-normal generation outages caused by frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies with individuals using it to heat their own homes.


About half of the state’s wind turbine capacity (25,000-megawatts) is not currently generating power because many turbines have become frozen. But, the turbines are still producing more power than typically expected.

“Wind is putting out more than we count on for the winter season,” Woodfin added. 

The turbines that are operating are producing more than normal, he continued. It is uncertain whether there are plans to de-ice the turbines in parts of west and northwest Texas, ERCOT said.

With temperatures expected to drop down to 0 degrees at times through Tuesday, and below 0 with wind chill, demand on the grid is expected to remain extremely high.


ERCOT officials said later Sunday they may need to go into emergency operations starting that evening. Rotating outages were the last step they said they could take in an emergency. 

On Sunday evening, that school officials had been told to “expect rotating power outages of 15 minutes up to 2X thru Tues.” SMU warned that following an outage, it could take up five or more hours to restore full heat. 

SMU officials said they were notified by Oncor about the possibility.

“While Oncor’s transmission and distribution system is prepared to handle the increased load, requests for conservation are a case of supply and demand – when there may not be enough power generation to meet the high demand for electricity,” said Connie Piloto, Oncor Director of Communications. 

Experts explained that even taking a few small steps to reduce power consumption in your home can help your community: 

Turn down your thermostat to 68 degreesKeep lights off when not in a roomUnplug appliances not in useAvoid using large appliances like washing machines, esp. during peak timesClose off heat escape routes like drafty doors or fireplace dampers (when not in use)Set your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise to force warm air downwardsClose blinds and shades at night to keep out cold air. Open them during the day to allow sunshine in.

Reliant is urging Texans to particularly reduce their energy usage during peak times between the hours of 6 to 10 p.m. and 5 to 9 a.m. over the next few days.  

Those hours are often the times when temperatures are coldest and demand for electricity is highest, officials explained.

And officials are asking that businesses and other large consumers of electricity limit their use of electricity over the next few days to just essential production. 


Texans are also urged to immediately report any downed power lines by calling 911, Oncor officials said. Crews are staged across its service areas to respond to any problems.

ERCOT has a graph showing the state electrical grid’s capacity compared to demand. To see it in real-time, 

Gov. Greg Abbott Friday for all 254 Texas counties in response to the wintry weather conditions. 

The governor has also requested a Federal Emergency Declaration from the White House to make additional resources available for communities impacted by this weather event.  

The Texas State Operations Center will also be active 24 hours a day through the end of next week.

During a news conference Saturday, Gov. Abbott warned Texans “the severity of the weather is unprecedented and people should be ready.” 


There are over 3,000 troopers deployed, the National Guard will be assisting local law enforcement and performing welfare checks in rural areas, search and rescue teams are monitoring and the Texas forest service will be in place to deal with any downed trees and to clear roads. 

Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd is also asking everyone to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning as power outages begin to happen across the state. If your power does go out, Kidd says do not burn any gas appliances in your home. 

Officials also want to remind people not bring any generators inside— they should remain at least 30 feet away from your home.

Good advice for those who loose power and have generators.Here are some additional tips that you could do if your home loses power and you do not have a generator/power source:

— NWS Fort Worth (@NWSFortWorth)

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