Power Grid Has Kept the Heat On So Far - MilectoPower Grid Has Kept the Heat On So Far - Milecto

Many people in Texas had to deal with extremely cold weather on Tuesday, but the state’s power grid stayed stable. This is after a major breakdown during a severe freeze in 2021. The grid director, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, asked people to save energy in the morning, which was a very important time for the power supply. However, they later said there was enough power to meet the day’s projected demand. It was expected that temperatures would rise, which would make things better.

Cities like Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio had wind chills below zero in the morning. Many businesses were back in action after the long holiday weekend, but some big school districts, like those in Houston and Dallas, were still closed because of the weather.

A website that tracks power Grid outages says that as of 9:30 a.m. Central Time, only about 30,000 of Texas’s more than 13 million utility users were not getting power.

ERCOT stopped telling people to save energy by late Tuesday morning. In a statement, they said that the efforts of all Texans working together and the addition of extra tools to improve grid stability helped them get through the crazy busy times that day and the morning before.

Around 7 p.m. in the evening, there was going to be another tough time for the grid, but the operator’s prediction said it would be something they could handle. It wasn’t asked for anyone to save energy during the evening peak as of Tuesday morning.

Despite officials expressing confidence in the strengthened power grid, ERCOT did not dismiss the chance of implementing rolling blackouts—a deliberate shutting off and restoring of electricity in specific areas to prevent overwhelming demand from causing broader and prolonged outages.

Power Grid - Milecto

Winter mornings pose a particular challenge for the grid, given the low temperatures, calm winds impacting electrical turbines, and insufficient sunlight for solar panels. Texas mayors urged residents to take precautions in the extreme cold, with warming shelters in Austin staying open through Tuesday morning, accommodating vulnerable homeless individuals at risk of hypothermia.

Mayor Kirk Watson of Austin emphasized the intense cold on Monday, and in Dallas, despite concerns about possible road refreezing, highways were clear before sunrise on Tuesday. Some water-main breaks were reported in Dallas and Fort Worth, leading the region’s two largest school districts to close on Tuesday due to potential icy streets and hazardous temperatures for waiting children. However, many other school districts remained open.

Teachers at Wellington Elementary School in Flower Mound took turns standing outside beside the car drop-off lane in the cold, with backed-up cars after the bell rang. While bike racks were empty, a few bundled-up children ran to school on foot.

A crossing guard named Susan Maslanka said, “I get that they only get a certain number of bad weather days here.” But with the weather and the power grid being so tight, it doesn’t make sense for all of these schools to be open.

At 6 a.m., Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was 13 degrees, but the windchill made it feel like -5 degrees.

On Monday, ERCOT said there were no power Grid outages, even though more electricity was used than in December 2022, during a cold snap, which was the previous winter high demand record.

ERCOT said that if temps dropped to the levels seen in December 2022 in January, there was a 1 in 6 chance that rolling blackouts would happen in the morning.

Texas gets a lot of attention, but they’re not the only ones hoping that their important energy systems can stand up to the cold.

In 2021, many people in Texas were without power. People in Jackson, Mississippi’s capital, had a different problem: many of them were without water for several weeks. Also, on Christmas Day in 2022, tens of thousands of people in Jackson didn’t have water because some pipes in the system weren’t able to handle temperatures below freezing.

Jackson’s water problems are made worse by its old infrastructure, which includes a water plant that was built in 1914. The South is experiencing more and more freezing weather, which has shown weaknesses in systems that were made for warmer winters. “We’ve made a lot of improvements to facilities that were never meant to handle cold weather,” said Ted Henifin, the temporary manager of Jackson’s drinking water system. “We’re optimistic about our current state.”

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