BTU: Rotating outage requirements may risk customers’ “health and wellbeing”

The electric provider says ERCOT’s demand “effectively leaves customers out of electrical service for extended periods at a time.”
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 12:55 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - In a dire message, Bryan Texas Utilities says a mandatory directive from ERCOT, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, has hobbled their ability to provide power for customers. Blackouts may continue, they said, until temperatures rise at the end of the week.

BTU says ERCOT currently requires they cut roughly one-third of their system’s peak maximum, more than 100 megawatts. Originally, ERCOT’s requirement of BTU was only 9 megawatts, which required roughly 30 to 45-minute outages per customer.

In a statement, BTU officials said, “This level does not allow BTU to rotate the outages properly and effectively leaves customers out of electrical service for extended periods at a time. This is a potential risk to the health and wellbeing of BTU customers due to unprecedented sustained low temperatures.”

BTU stressed that their failure to follow the directive would put the reliability of the power grid at risk. BTU would also be breaking with market rules and subject to large fines and sanctions from the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Customers are encouraged to take precautions for their safety and the safety of those around them as freezing temperatures and freezing precipitation are forecast through Friday.

“ERCOT has given no indication of the generation shortage improving until temperatures moderate,” said BTU of the status of the mandatory blackouts.

ERCOT first called for the Energy Emergency Alert (3) at 1:20 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15. The order requires that utilities cut power to homes and businesses to reduce the electrical demand on the power grid. This level of alert has only been called for three times in the history of ERCOT, most recently in February 2011. Previously, cutbacks only lasted a few hours.

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