In Electricity Data, Round Rock Uitilities

August 2011

For the second day in a row, a record was set for electricity demand and usage in Texas.  That situation caused the Texas  transmission grid operator to issue a Power Watch, or “Level 1 Energy Emergency Alert.”  This alert urges Texas electricity consumers to conserve power immediately, to avoid coordinated rolling power outages.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued that warning after electricity demand exceeded the record of 66,867 megawatts from the day before.  The 66K+ megawatts exceeded a record set last year in August. Yesterday’s (Aug 3) demand is now the record and stands at 67,929 megawatts between 4-5 p.m.

ERCOT, by issuing the warning, asks electric utilities customers to conserve electricity, especially during peak times this week.  Peak times are from 3 to 7 p.m. The biggest spike in electricity usage is usually about 4 to 5 p.m.

With a record drought in play and temperatures consistently over 100 degrees in the Round Rock area, no doubt many Round Rock utilities customers have been increasing their usage of electricity to keep their homes cool.  We have received feedback from existing customers in the Round Rock area that consumption has increased, as much as a 50% increase with some residents.

If the trend continues, energy officials at ERCOT could institute a “Level 2 Energy Emergency” or Power Warning. This phase allows the grid operators to drop power to larger commercial and industrial facilites.

A residential electricity “rolling power outage” scenario would be the next step: a “Level 3 Energy Emergency” or Power Emergency.  Round Rock Electricity consumers will remember this type of emergency occurred during the cold snap in February of 2011.  Virtually all Round Rock utilities users experienced several rolling outages lasting more than an hour, though most of the outage were less than an hour.

Spokespersons from local wires companies, such as ONCOR, have been quoted as saying that if the generators hold as they are right now, we will be able to avert any residential rolling power outages; a Level 3 emergency situation.

Questions about this news?

Feel free to call Round Rock Electricity at 512-827-8005

QUICK FACTS:  (From ERCOT website)

The Energy Emergency Alert procedures are a series of steps that allow ERCOT to bring on power from other grids if available, beginning with a Power Watch (Energy Emergency Alert Level 1).  

If the situation does not improve, ERCOT escalates to a Power Warning (Energy Emergency Alert Level 2), allowing operators to drop large commercial/industrial load resources under contract to be interrupted during an emergency.

If the capacity shortage is not relieved by the contract demand response, ERCOT escalates to a Power Emergency (Energy Emergency Alert Level 3) and will instruct utilities to reduce demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level.  These controlled temporary interruptions of electrical service – or rotating outages – typically last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.

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