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posted by mrpg on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:20AM   Printer-friendly

'Unplanned' outages hit Texas power plants in soaring temperatures

Officials with Texas' power grid operator pleaded with residents Monday to limit their electrical usage amid soaring temperatures and a series of mechanical problems at power plants.

The appeal, from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, comes four months after deadly blackouts during a winter storm left millions of people without power — and weeks after state legislators passed a package of measures aimed at fixing some of the problems exposed by the storm.

Officials with the nonprofit group, which oversees 90 percent of Texas' energy production, asked residents to set their thermostats higher, turn off lights and avoid using larger appliances until Friday.

A spokeswoman for the group told reporters that the outages accounted for more than 12,000 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million homes. Some areas of the state, including Dallas and Tarrant counties, were warned about poor air quality and potentially dangerous heat, with the heat index approaching 110 degrees.

A senior official with ERCOT, Warren Lasher, said it wasn't clear why there were so many unplanned outages. But he said that the group is "deeply concerned" about the plants that are offline and that a thorough investigation is being conducted to better understand the problems.

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  • (Score: 2) by Dale on Wednesday June 16 2021, @12:59PM (2 children)

    by Dale (539) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @12:59PM (#1145871)

    Realistically because it really isn't that hot yet. mid-90s is super early summer. A couple of years ago I believe we cracked 100 consecutive days of over 100 degree temps. It simply hasn't been too terribly hot so far (but it is coming). Large areas of Texas have also not had any power disruption (as many areas were not impacted during the freeze). That isn't to say there aren't issues and that some aren't impacted by them. I'm just saying that it isn't a large enough social issue at the moment to invoke the type of response you are expecting. That being said, the day is coming with the "we show up to vote" population of the major cities will weigh the "we show up to vote better" massive rural areas. Until that scale tips there isn't anything that can happen.

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  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:54PM (1 child)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:54PM (#1145894) Journal

    Yes, this. Not hot enough yet. But come July and August, if half of Texas can't use the A/C, heads will roll. They could tell the residents that February was a freak occurrence, and get away with that one because it was the first winter in a long time that there'd been mass power outages. But to have it happen again, same year? With the different season putting the lie to the excuses they ran with in the winter? It's going to be "Republicans: they can't keep the lights on." Then, maybe, all this drama over social conservatism will look decidedly unimportant next to the necessities. The Republicans are in power, but they won't stay in power if they can't keep the state's power on.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Wednesday June 16 2021, @05:57PM

      by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @05:57PM (#1146024) Journal

      Keeping the state's power on might require . . . OMG . . . I'm gonna actually say it . . . regulation!

      NSA does only TARGETED surveillance. It's just that they target everyone.