Bryan-College Station experts weigh in on possibility of rolling blackouts heading into summer

“Our big message has been there are things that you can do at home to kind of help out, but there isn’t a need for a real panic. We don’t foresee rolling outages or anything like that happening. Of course, that’s always a possibility we can’t rule it out.”
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 5:43 PM CDT
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BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is urging residents to conserve power when they can. Texans are asked to reduce electric use as much as possible through Friday, June 18, especially during the peak hours between 3-7 p.m.

Coming off a winter storm that crippled many areas and left thousands without power; many are concerned that the extreme temperatures will cause power outages and extended blackout periods. Local experts say they don’t anticipate any issues but stress the importance of being energy aware.

Patrick Koenning, owner of Gilmore Electric Express, says with February’s winter storms on people’s minds recent conservation warnings have renewed a sense of urgency to find backup power.

“We have seen a large increase in calls ever since the freeze. We get calls daily of people wanting to get estimates, wanting to see what they can do to get some sort of backup power. We’re seeing the warnings already that they’re going to be having some issues with the grids, so I think customers need to do what they need to do to prepare,” said Koenning. “I definitely think it’s time for the community to start thinking about other ways of being able to get power for themselves if we do have these outages.”

Koenning recommends backup generators, whether they be portable or entire home systems.

“I think having a backup generator is probably number one. I think having even a portable generator, anything that can get them a little bit of power, will definitely help,” said Koenning. “The whole home generators are very popular right now. We get calls daily about customers wanting some backup power because they do know this summer we might see some issues.”

Meagan Brown, an energy account manager with Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU), says the conservation alerts that come from ERCOT are not anything unusual.

“Conservation alerts are not necessarily uncommon with ERCOT. They have typically happened most summers, at least as long as I’ve been in the industry. It really wasn’t brought to the forefront of most customers’ minds until February,” said Brown. “Obviously, with that unfortunate event, now that is the forefront of most customer’s minds. So anytime they hear anything like that, it’s something they’re really focusing on, and so our big message has been, there are things that you can do at home to kind of help out. But there isn’t a need for a real panic.”

Timothy Crabb, director of electric utility for the city of College Station says the city is not expecting any outages.

“There’s always the possibility things can happen, storms and plants go down or something of that nature, but again, ERCOT is not projecting a problem during the summer,” said Crabb. “So they have suggested conserving power during certain times, and I think they recently changed it to peak hours.

Crabb says the afternoon into the evening is when the most energy and electricity is used and suggests we should do more to conserve during those hours, whether it’s a conservation warning or not.

“During the afternoon hours, of course, that’s when it gets the hottest, and also that’s when you have people transitioning from the office to the home. So you get a lot of air conditioners turned down when people get home, people cooking supper, doing that sort of thing,” said Crabb. “So the load goes up during that time period substantially and so what they’re asking between the hours of 2 and 7:00 p.m. to try to reduce your load. A lot of the things that they’re asking people to do are just good conservation to lower your electric bill, whether there’s a conservation request or not.”

ERCOT has advice on how you can conserve power below.

ERCOT’s conservation tips infographic
ERCOT’s conservation tips infographic(KBTX)

Reliability of grid remains strong during record demand, request to conserve energy during peak hours (3-7 p.m.) continues through Friday:

Posted by Electric Reliability Council of Texas on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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