East Texas energy distributor explains power shortage

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Electrical usage will hopefully go down tonight following an order from the state's public utilities commission.

The Deep East Texas Electric Co-op, one of ten rural distributors, takes electricity alerts seriously.

"Because if a system starts going down it will cascade. If one generator goes down and they don't have enough power, the other generator will go down and then you have to go to rolling blackouts," Detec Manager Larry Warren said.

East Texans rarely experience rolling blackouts. Good thing based on Warren's description.

"It's similar to throwing people out of the plane to keep the plane from going down," said Warren.

Distributors have designated circuits they can take offline, to make those lights connected to it go off.

"From this screen we can see what the voltage is there at the substation, both the voltage coming in and the voltage going out of the station. We use this system to control breakers in the substation and also to monitor load," Detec Director of Operations Doug Turk said.

Its no surprise, East Texans like being cool. Summer is the peak usage time, and at the Deep East Texas Co-op they measured 240 megawatts.

Significant area usage comes from the oil and gas industry. Also poultry houses are equipped with powerful, energy draining, cooling systems. Also, there are all the local households to take into account.

Some reminders on how you can do your part to save electrical usage:

* Place things like refrigerators and freezers away from sources of heat

* Lower your water heater thermostat

* Use compact fluorescent light bulbs

* And don't forget to insulate and block outside air passages