The Good Of Rolling Blackouts

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Most of the Brazos Valley was affected by Tuesday's blackout. Some customers had power back on within minutes of the initial blackout, but they too would spend some time in the dark.

At least four utility providers had customers without power. Bryan Texas Utilities was one of them. The company says, in order to get power back on, it had to turn the power off.

Pat Kasper, BTU Division Manager of Electric Transmission, said there was limited amount of electricity coming into Bryan and College Station. So to keep power to some customers, they had to limit the number of customers who would be able to use it at one time. When this is the case, utility providers use rolling blackouts to share the available electricity.

By definition, rolling blackouts are controlled and scheduled losses of power. By using rolling blackouts, customers in a service area are able to make provisions to prepare for more and possibly longer power outages.

This process keeps the few active power sources from being overloaded. "If we tried to serve all the customers in this area, we would have experienced at complete blackout of the area and that is the worst thing that can happen to your area, to have to pick up your area from a total blackout, " Kasper said.

To recover electricity for all customers in a BTU service area, they rotated the availability of power, a rolling blackout. As additional power connections were made available more customers could be added onto the power source. BTU was finally able to get the necessary number of power connections back online to give power to their entire service area again.