Significant progress has been made to restore customer power throughout the state in the past several days, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said, but some outages still remain.
ERCOT put an end to its mandatory rolling blackouts Thursday morning, but noted that demand still is greater than available resources at this time.
“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. “We know millions of people are suffering. We have no other priority than getting them electricity. No other priority.
“We are working around the clock to restore power to Texans. We made progress today, but it will not be good enough until every person has their power back.”
Energy emergency conditions remain as the grid operator and transmission owners work to restore the remaining customers that are without power. Extreme weather conditions caused many generating units — across fuel types, including natural gas, wind, solar, coal and nuclear — to trip offline and become
unavailable. “We’re to the point in the load restoration where we are allowing transmission owners to bring back any load they can related to this load shed event,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin. “We will keep working around the clock until every single customer has their power back on.”
Customers that remain without power likely fall into one of these three categories:
• Areas out due to ice storm damage on the distribution system;
• Areas that were taken out of service due to the energy emergency load shed that need to be restored manually (i.e., sending a crew to the location to reenergize the line); and
• Large industrial facilities that voluntarily went offline to help during this energy emergency.
Transmission owners are assessing how many customers are affected at this time.
While there is no additional load shed occurring at this time, a little over 40,000 MW of generation remains on forced outage due to this winter weather event. Of that, 23,500 MW is thermal generation and the rest is wind and solar. It is possible that some level of rotating outages may be needed over the next couple of days to keep the grid stable.
ERCOT first entered emergency conditions and initiated rotating outages at 1:25 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15.
Pedernales Electric Cooperative, which serves most of Burnet County and Horseshoe Bay in Llano County, announced Wednesday they had “successfully refined our rolling service interruptions process.
“These outages are now happening for approximately 1.5 hours every 3 hours. We are doing what we can to provide some consistency for members experiencing these interruptions. This process is subject to change at any time,” PEC said in a statement.
PEC reported that extreme temperatures and icy winter weather created infrastructure damage across much of the cooperative’s 8,100 square mile service territory.
“These temperatures have created hazardous road conditions, particularly at night, that prevent PEC crews from restoring infrastructure power outages until conditions improve. PEC lineworkers and other PEC employees have been working diligently around-the-clock to safely make restorations as quickly as possible. They have made progress; however, PEC members are still without power. PEC will continue to work to get everyone restored as quickly as is safely possible,” the cooperative announced.
The cooperative said members with outages should report them directly to PEC at 888-883-3379, or by visiting PEC’s SmartHub. Find the latest information and updates on PEC’s website, pec.coop.
Central Texas Electric Cooperative announced its crews are attempting to repair poles and downed lines with more than 300 poles down in its service territory and more breaking.
“We also have crews attempting single outages in all areas,” CTEC said. “Based on repairs being made in the substations and to equipment, poles, and lines, we do not have an estimated time of power restoration.”
In Sunrise Beach, CTEC has two oil circuit reclosers (OCRs) opened up on Circle Drive and Airview, which crews are working to fix. In Kingsland, River Oaks and Houston Street are back on and crews were running single outages all day Thursday.
The Bluffton and Tow areas have been out due to a failed substation transformer in the Bluffton substation. A mobile transformer was being installed Thursday with repairs needed on the distribution side before power will be restored.
ERCOT directed LCRA to intermittently generate hydroelectric power at Highland Lakes dams this week to support the Texas electric grid. See ERCOT.com for more on the status of the power grid. Flood operations are not anticipated at this time. However, depending on the length of the event and need for hydroelectric generation, there is a slight possibility of flood operations over the next few days. Prolonged hydroelectric generation at Buchanan Dam could cause Inks Lake to rise above the spillway of Inks Dam, and prolonged hydroelectric generation at Mansfield Dam could require one floodgate to be partially opened at Tom Miller Dam to keep Lake Austin within its normal operating range.