Texans to see rotating power outages as means to conserve energy

Ross Houston
February 16, 2021

President Joe Biden declared an emergency on Monday, unlocking federal assistance to Texas, where temperatures on Monday ranged from 21 to minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 to minus 22 Celsius). In Houston, the state's largest city, roads were iced over and people braved long lines to refill household propane canisters. Firewood is selling out.

In the last six months, extreme temperatures have led to rolling blackouts in the two most populous USA states. Power will be dropped for one hour, then on one hour throughout the night.

First responders cleanup after a massive pileup on I-35W Thursday Feb. 11 2021 near downtown Fort Worth Texas

The storms knocked out almost half the Texas wind power generation capacity on Sunday.

Of the 25 000-plus megawatts of wind-power capacity normally available in Texas, some 12 000 megawatts was out of service as of Sunday morning "due to the winter weather event we're experiencing in Texas", ERCOT spokesperson Leslie Sopko said.

"Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now", said Bill Magness, the president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), in a news release. Utilities there haven't had to carry out rolling blackouts since 2011.

Parts of Texas were colder than Alaska, according to the National Weather Service. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter weather advisories are in effect for multiple states from coast to coast as a major storm batters the country.

More than 3.8 million homes and businesses were without power across Texas on Monday, based on utility outage data compiled by Poweroutage.us.

"This impressive onslaught of wicked wintry weather across much of the Lower 48 is due to the combination of strong Arctic high pressure supplying sub-freezing temperatures and an active storm track escorting waves of precipitation from coast-to-coast". It will get hit by another storm bringing ice and freezing rain Wednesday. "It is going to take a while for them to break out of it".

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