Rotating outages over for now, could be back tonight

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has issued a notice that rotating outages are no longer needed at this time; however, there is a strong possibility that they will be required again Wednesday evening or Thursday, depending on how quickly the disabled generation units can be returned to service.

Oncor spokesman David Collier said about 50 generators across the state were down, which puts a strain on ERCOT's grid.

Melba Pouland warmed her hands by her wood-burning heater Wednesday afternoon.

When there's no guarantee the lights or heater will come on, it's nice to know there's something she can count on.

"Everything we have comes from electricity, so we have no water, no heat, except the wood-burning heater," said Pouland.

Her power went off Tuesday for several hours. It came back on, but then the rolling blackouts started.

"For only about 15 or 20 minutes it's off, something like that, so we can live with that too," said Pouland.

It is important that businesses and residences conserve their electricity Wednesday night so ERCOT is not forced to resume the outages.

Usually the hospitals are the last to experience the blackouts, but when ERCOT declared a level three emergency, Terry Elliott, the director of facilities for Memorial Health System of East Texas, received an email.

"A little bit of a surprise," said Elliott. "I think if I can recall, during my six years, I cannot recall a time where we've had a rolling blackout."

Although some hospitals could experience the rolling blackouts, all of them have to have an emergency backup generator.

"It gets our attention," said Elliott. "It just makes us more diligent in our checks that we normally do every day, but as any hospital, you have to provide emergency power, critical services have to stay flowing, so we're prepared."

Collier said about 200 costumers each in Angelina County and 400 in Nacogdoches County are still without power after Tuesday's storm.

TXU Energy issued a list of ways to conserve power to avoid rotating outages:

1.       Turn off all lights, appliance and electronics not being used

2.       Do not use dishwasher, laundry equipment, or other home appliances between the hours of 6:00-9:00 am and 4:00-8:00 pm

3.       Set thermostat to 70 degrees or less, and several degrees cooler overnight

4.       Close heating vents in unoccupied rooms

5.       Minimize number of times that doors to the outside are opened and closed

6.       Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible

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