Massive Power Outage Affects Thousands

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The source of the wide-spread power outage has been traced to the Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) Gibbons Creek Generation Station in Carlos which is connected to the ERCOT grid.

According to BTU Group Manager Tom Hancock, around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, there was a fault on a autotransformer owned by TMPA. The mechanical failure took out transmission lines that feed the Brazos County area, as well as a few surrounding counties.

Several local electrical companies which lie within the ERCOT grid were directly affected by failure at TMPA.

"This is an instance where we had no advance warning of the problem," Mid South Member Services Manager Jeff Murski said. "At this time, we have call center representatives manning the phones at our headquarters, and we have crews dispatched to the field to commence switching operations so we can pull power form the SERC grid from the Southwest. We will attempt to transfer load and get as many Mid South customers back on this evening that have been affected by this outage."

According to area sheriff’s departments, parts of Brazos, Madison, Robertson, Burleson and Grimes County were without power. An estimated 62,000 customers were affected by the blackout.

Bryan Texas Utilities reported 60% of its 47,000 customers were without power, which is an estimated 27,000 customers. College Station Utilities reported 33,000 customers were without power.

According to Mid South Synergy, which includes Madison and Northern Grimes County, 5,000 customers were affected.

Ten of the 27 circuits are considered essential in College Station, meaning they power police, fire and hospital operations, among others. ERCOT informed the city that 11 or 12 circuits were the most they could have up. The city began restoring power to individual circuits for 20 to 30 minutes intervals. As the evening progressed, College Station Utilities was able to push power back on to more circuits.

At Bryan Texas Utilities, the company ran rolling outages through the city starting around 8:45 p.m. Some lasted upwards of an hour as they attempted to restore full power, which was reportedly achieved around 10 p.m.

The power outages did not cause any problems at St. Joseph Regional Health Center or the College Station Medical Center. Both hospitals ran off generator power as needed during the rolling power outages.

As of Tuesday at 11 p.m., none of the schools in the Brazos Valley reported any closures.

Texas A&M canceled all Tuesday evening classes. But they have not sent down word that any classes are rescheduled for Wednesday. There were reports that people were stuck in elevators when the power first went down. According to the University Police Department no one was injured. All University Police officers were called to duty. The department was running the maximum number of patrols on campus.

According to TMPA all customers would have power by Wednesday morning.