Over the last few days we have had many questions sent to us regarding Blackouts and long delays in getting the power restored. This is a quick overview of what we have been able to learn so far.
What is ERCOT?
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 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 680+ generation units.
Why is my power out?
There are several possibilities why your power is out.
Rolling Blackouts have been instituted to protect the existing distribution system and operating power generation equipment.
A shortage of electrical power due to several natural gas-fired generators and wind power generators that have frozen up and are not producing power or damaged sections of the power grid.
At this point, if your power is going on and then off after some time then you are most likely part of the rolling blackouts. Several parts of the grid are considered priority sections which are grids sections supplying power to Hospitals and Emergency services. Those sections of the grid are not part of the rolling blackouts but may be affected by damage to the grid.
If your power has been off for an extended length of time then the grid in your area may have been damaged from the ice or trees falling on the power lines. There were over 2 dozen pole fires on Saturday in Round Rock. The transformers were shorted out by the ice or damaged when tree limbs came in contact with the power lines, shorting the transformers and damaged them. The transformers will need to be replaced to restore the power. Power lines themselves may have been damaged in some cases or pulled down and need to be reinstalled. Fuses on the poles may have been tripped as a result of shorts caused by the ice or tree branches.
In the cases of damage to the grid, the power companies are responding but needing additional items like more transformers to complete the repairs. The repairs are being made as quickly as possible but are completed as the parts and manpower are available. They are also still clearing the tree branches from the lines which are in some cases in a difficult location to get the vehicles to slowing down the process.
With a second round of ice headed our way everyone in the area needs to prepare for the possibility that we will lose power or be without power longer.