Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 6, 2014

ERCOT to watch electric demand closely

By Jordan Overturf
Associated Press

— ERCOT officials came close to issuing rolling blackouts Monday morning after two units went offline and peak usage rose to 55,486 megawatts before 8 a.m.

“The deployment in the first two stages were efficient enough to prevent rotating outages,” Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s director of system operations, said during a teleconference Monday afternoon.

Woodfin said two units in “north-Central Texas” went offline Monday morning because of weather related issues. He didn’t say where the units were located, but did advise they appeared to be back online as of noon Monday.

ERCOT is continuing a conservation warning through Tuesday morning. The conservation call was initially issued Sunday before the artic vortex reached Texas’ borders.

Despite the advanced warning, ERCOT was forced to issue a level one alert at about 6:52 p.m., Woodfin said. A level two alert was issued just after 7 a.m.

Woodfin said the agency came close to instituting the rolling blackouts, which are initiated during a level 3 alert.

Woodfin said that all providers are made aware of the alerts and conservation steps are taken as the levels increase, including tapping into neighboring regions for additional provisions. Woodfin could not say which regions ERCOT tapped into Monday morning.

On Feb. 10, 2011, ERCOT output reached 57,265 megawatts, a winter record.

Woodfin said demand typically peaks in the morning and then rises again in the evening.

Because the two units are back online, Woodfin said he did not anticipate any issues Tuesday morning as long as the conservation efforts continue.