Texas Rolling Blackout Information Resources

Texas temperatures causing the rolling blackouts on Texa's ERCOT grid
Temperatures around Texas that triggered the Rolling Blackouts

As controlled blackouts roll across Texas’ ERCOT electricity grid due to freezing weather, here’s some information resources that may help understand what’s going on.  Hopefully this information and others will help answer the question, “Why were their blackouts when electricity demand is higher in August?  A/C is all electric.  Heat is electric and natural gas, yet news outlets report power plants going off line as the cause of the rolling blackouts.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is the agency that manages Texas’ grid as well as its electricity markets.  The Texas grid is an entity unto itself, mainly disconnected from the rest of the US.  This means there’s no chance for an uncontrolled blackout to enter or exit the ERCOT system.

They’re really busy today, which is probably why there’s little information available as of noon.  They should be holding press conferences to match the news media’s deadlines and sources tell me to look out for a report tomorrow detailing what happened today.

ERCOT Operations Messages.

ERCOT congestion information.  (Down as of noon 2-2-11)

Texas Public Utilities Twitter Feed

Outage Maps

Austin Outage Map

DFW & North Texas Outage Map (Oncor)

Houston Outtage Map (Centerpoint Energy) (unavailable during outtage.  Huh?)

More on Texas’ new Nodal Market

From Zonal:
ERCOT Zonal Map

To Nodal:
ERCOT Nodal Map

Public Citizen’s blog post on ERCOT putting to bed their old system the day before the storm.

ERCOT explains the nodal market the best it can.

Map of Texas power plants built and mothballed after 1995 from the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Texas Public Utility Commision (PUCTX)

While most information from the PUCTX (and ERCOT for that matter) makes the most sense to policy geeks, there’s still a lot of good information available, especially in the Commissioner’s Power Point presentations.  When they talk to conference and trade associations, they have to explain what they do to people who aren’t policy wonks, so they have to be clear.  You can benefit.

Chairman Smitherman’s presentations.

Commissioner  Nelson’s presentations.

Commisioner Anderson’s presentations.

Live Twitter Feed for #ercot Hashtag

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Live Twitter Feed for #rollingblackouts Hashtag

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  • Paul
    February 2, 2011 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m calling BS on this explanation that a broken waterline caused two generation plants to shut down, and that the backup generation plants could not fire due to low natural gas pressure.

    Someone got very rich today due to the spike in price of the commodity of electricity, that ultimately the end users (private households) will pay for.

    We are living in the energy capital of the world…..not some third world country.

  • Ed
    February 7, 2011 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Energy saving tip from Reliant Energy and Mega Watt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUNISl0mr5g

  • dana priest
    February 10, 2011 - 6:51 pm | Permalink

    This was NOTHING but TERROR ACT for PROFIT conducted by the BIG power for profit companies (ERCOT and Oncor) making lots and lots of money from this at the expense of the citizens, the terror victims.
    I find it interesting that this past summer when there was such massive triple digit heat records for days on end and NOTHING anywhere similar to this occurred in this state.
    I find it interesting that just a few weeks ago that lgeislation was passed that permitted the max of $3,000 per MGA kw was passed.
    I find it interesting that the BIGGEST electric waste users :the hotels for the super bowl people; the convention centers in Ft. Worth and Dallas; that the super bowl dome ITSELF were A L L allowed to remain open and operating as though nothing out of the ordinary was occurring–the excuse of “security” for the cowboy dome is a joke!@!! IF the FBI couldn’t get security back up from Wed, 2/3/2011 to Sun., day of the game 2/6/2011, then that’s a pretty sorry security system~by the way, I turned this into the FBI as a terror act, wonder what they will investigate since that type of action is now on their agenda.

    I find it interesting that good ole perry took off to California the SAME day Wed. 2/2/2011, that this occurred and there is N O W A Y you will ever convience me that HE didn’t know this was going to take place before he leff—wonder how much he and his good ole boys made off of this experience, rolling blackouts\!

    I find it interesting that in my 63yrs of life (all but 8 1/2 in this state) this have N E V E R happened in Texas before!!! Even California gives its citizens warning prior to their “rolling brown outs” in the summer time–even under ENRON.

    I find it interesting that people have not been removed from positions of power yet, no one has been mentioned to the public for “responsibility” fo this terror act yet.

    I find it interesting that NOTHING has been put forward as to helping home owners who suffered pysicial damage to their homes, selves, etc. regarding monetary damages and reimbursements. WE did not do this—– MONEY MONGER, TERROISTS DID THIS in the guise of “for our best interest”!!!

    This was nothing but terror acts resulting in mega bucks for the rich at the loss of the citizens—-EVERYONE is still scared that this will happen AGAIN and be worse, if possible, than before.

    Citizens need to desperately speak up, stand up and express their anguish and concern for what has occurred and demand accountability and TRUTHFUL answers as to WHY this happened!!!

    I wonder how much the citizens next electric and gas bills will be—remembering that it cost the max of $3,000 per MGK for the power to be bought/produced.

    Any comments???

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