These blackouts don’t roll

How it started.

Texas’ electrical grid operator is implementing rolling blackouts across most of the state Monday after a massive winter storm brought unprecedented demand for electricity and forced multiple power-generating units offline.

The blackouts began at 1:25 a.m. Central time. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said they would likely last “throughout the morning and could be initiated until this weather emergency ends.”

“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness said in a press release.

The blackouts are designed to reduce demand for electricity until capacity can be restored. ERCOT officials hinted on Sunday that they might be necessary, saying they’d most likely last between 10 minutes to 45 minutes at a time.

How it’s going:

We’ve been without power for 2.5 hours as I write this – we have some battery backup to keep the WiFi going and recharge devices, but not much more than that. They say a little time spent offline is good for you. We’ll see about that. Stay warm, y’all.

UPDATE: We got our power back after eight hours, which makes us very fortunate.

CenterPoint Energy customers who are currently experiencing an outage should be prepared to be without power for at least the rest of the day, CenterPoint said Monday afternoon.

As the Texas electric system faces an unprecedented power shortage due to extreme winter weather, Texans’ electricity consumption is far surpassing the state’s current power generation.

The current estimated number of customers without power due to the request for reduced load is approximately 1.162 million, while an additional 62,500 customers are without power due to other storm related events.

Customers who do have power are asked to reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible.

On Monday morning, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which is responsible for scheduling power and ensuring the reliability of the electrical network, declared a statewide power generation shortfall emergency and asked electricity delivery companies to reduce load through controlled outages.

As soon as generating capacity is brought back online and ERCOT permits, CenterPoint Energy will deploy resources to restore customers.

However, CenterPoint said if additional generating capacity goes offline, it will result in additional customer outages.

“How long is it going to be? I don’t know the answer,” said Kenny Mercado, executive vice president at the Houston utility. Mercado, said in an interview. “The generators are doing everything they can to get back on. But their work takes time and I don’t know how long it will take. But for us to move forward, we have got to get generation back onto the grid. That is our primary need.”

The power outages rolling through the state are expected to last through today and at least part of tomorrow, the state grid manager said Monday.

Just a thought here, but maybe this is a more important issue than whether or not sports teams play the Star Spangled Banner before their games. Just a thought.

Also, in case anyone was wondering:

Like I said, maybe a more important issue than some of the effluvia that Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick have been talking about.

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12 Responses to These blackouts don’t roll

  1. Flypusher says:

    Another thing to infuriate people, it looks like nobody turned off the lights downtown:

    I don’t know how such things are managed, but I doubt those lights were essential.

  2. manny says:

    You were lucky our area has been without power since about 2 am Sunday.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Still no power here in Redneckville. Had to boil water on the stove e to make coffee, and my fridge contents are on the back porch. I guess I will have to break down and fire up the generator to… the fridge…..when it is literally around freezing.

    Craziest thing I have ever seen. On the plus side, It’s actually warmer outside. Walked a friend’s dog and actually came inside to cool off, LOL!

    Hope everyone gets their power back pretty quick. If I get mine back, I am going to warm the house to 68 as recommended, forget keeping it in the high 50’s to ‘do my part.’

  4. Lobo says:

    Power came on in the Barrio for bout 10 hours after 20+ hour outage, but now gone again. Heard Abbott spreading blame and adding another Lege emergency item. Gripes about the Reliability Council being anything but. Duh.

  5. Bill Daniels says:


    Power is back in Redneckville! I’ve just about gotten the house up to 55. I’ll let it hold at that for a couple of hours, then try and push it up to 65.

    One thing I am definitely going to do once this is all over, is install a 220 plug outside, by the meter, so I can pigtail my generator right to the house power (after isolating the house from the main, of course). All the years I have lived in Houston, it never occurred to me I might need to HEAT the house in the event of a power outage, but since I have gas heat, my 5,000kW portable would easily run both of my gas heaters, since they’re really just running the blowers.

    I’m also going to start keeping some firewood around. I have only used my fireplace once or twice in a quarter century, but last night I was wishing I had firewood. Oh well, live and learn.

    As usual, I had finally broke down started pulling out the generator and the outdoor extension cords and…..voila! Power’s back. Figures. Hope everybody else is back up and getting warm!

    I wonder how long it will take before enterprising people start showing up on street corners hawking “I survived Houston’s Coldpocalypse 2021” T-shirts.

  6. Jen says:

    Don’t worry, ERCOT and the Public Utility Commission of Texas have found the problem- it’s you! So, they are not going to punish the bad operators who failed us and left millions of Texans freezing in the dark, they are going to give them *higher prices* for their product, whenever they feel like making some more! Great job, all around!!

  7. Lobo says:

    “Controlled outage” = We cut you off. Stay warm! The good news: Enhanced revenue stream from the surge pricing.
    Next: H20 trickle down.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    Maybe the cold has gotten to me…..I find myself kind of agreeing with both Jen and Wolf.

    I would think the ‘lessons learned’ stuff here is, now the various power generators know where their weaknesses are, in terms of weatherization. And they’re going to have to spend money to fix those weaknesses, so I can see them getting a premium on their energy so they can effect the winterization protocols.

    As far as the windmills in particular, maybe there is no fix. Germany, a country that prides itself as being a leader in wind energy, is having a really tough go of it, and is only able to keep the heat on because they still have coal and natural gas, because their windmills are also failing badly, just as they need them most.

  9. Lobo says:

    Bill: Windpower accounts for only 7% in Tx and weatherization is done elsewhere. No problem. It’s no secret how, it just wasnt done since only recommended following investigations after prior freezes and blackouts in Texas.
    This disaster shows you what you get with biz-friendly the-consumer-be-damned state regulatory failure. ERCOT emergency action now consists of ordering grid operators like CenterPoint to cut people off and with PUC authorizing a rate hike to pay homage to scarcity. So, the silver lining: a higher utility bill after no power and tab down to trickle.
    The Trib and Dallas Biz Journal have more.

  10. Jason Hochman says:

    Flypusher, the mayor addressed the downtown buildings on his conference yesterday and asked them to shut down lights, especially when nobody is there.

    Bill, I did the same thing, when it became clear that the power wasn’t coming back any time soon, and the refrigerator was warming up I tossed some milk and ice cream into the yard, and saved it by the cold outside. My electricity went out sometime in the wee hours of Monday morning, between 1 and 3, and didn’t come on until after ten this morning. Some people are still out. So much for spreading the outages and keeping them brief.

    Water pressure is still ridiculously low, and the city recommends boiling water for drinking or cooking. I’ve stopped letting the water trickle, as requested by the city, in order to save the pressure. It should be OK since the temperatures won’t be so could the next few nights.

  11. David Fagan says:

    Something I’ve done is shut the water off to the house and drain the pipes. The pressure will be restored to the valve outside instead of the pipes in your house. Drain pipes to prevent freezing

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