10/8/2014

Rotating outages in Rio Grande Valley: Consumers urged to conserve to reduce necessity for outages

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has instructed Valley-area transmission and distribution service providers to reduce demand on the electric system immediately due to voltage concerns on the transmission system in that area.

This situation is limited to the Rio Grande Valley area and does not affect other areas of the electric grid serving most of Texas.

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service initiated by each utility.  Without this safety valve, generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a region-wide outage.

Rotating outages primarily affect residential neighborhoods and small businesses and do not typically include critical-need customers.

The outages are typically limited to 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.  Some customers may experience longer outages if power surges cause equipment failure during the restoration process.  Customers can minimize the risk of power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other equipment, except for one task light to determine when power has been restored.

ERCOT is asking consumers in the Rio Grande Valley area to reduce energy consumption:

  • Turn up thermostat a couple of degrees if possible.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers, and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours.
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Rotating outages will continue until voltage is stabilized. 

See more conservation tips at www.ercot.com/about/conservation/index.html.

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Robbie G. Searcy

ERCOT Communications

rsearcy@ercot.com

Office: (512) 225-7213

Cell: (512) 417-3281