Texas grid operator: Cold snap won’t spark another power emergency

HOUSTON — Texas power grid planners said Thursday they’ve scheduled plenty of generating capacity to handle the bump in electricity demand expected  as freezing temperatures again chill the state.

“We have taken steps to have some additional generation coming on line,” said Robbie Searcy, a spokeswoman for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas,  which runs most of the grid.

In the early morning of Jan. 6, the grid came close to the sequential, regional power shutdowns called rolling blackouts as furnace use boosted power demand at the same time power plants unexpectedly experienced problems officials said may may have been related to the cold.

Forecasts call for freezing temperatures in much of the state Thursday night and in some places Friday night.

Blame game: Interest groups point fingers over Texas’ near-blackout

The grid operator has scheduled more than 58,000 megawatts of power scheduled for the morning peak, which typically occurs around 8 a.m.  Officials expect demand to max out at about 55,000 megawatts.

One megawatt is enough power for about 200 Texas residences when demand is highest.

The Jan. 6 event and a brief scare last Saturday raised questions about whether some power plants took adequate steps  to ensure they could function in cold conditions.

Searcy said grid personnel have visited some facilities to make sure they’re ready for the cold. She also urged consumers to watch conditions and be ready to conserve power if necessary.

“We will be watching conditions closely and will take steps to notify the public if there is a need to reduce your energy use during the event.”

Also on FuelFix:

10 ways to slim your power bill this winter