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Power outage, Texas, Energy RCOT declares highest level of energy emergency, asks energy providers to begin 'rotating outages'

This hasn’t happened since february of 2011., so it has been a decade since we’ve hit this level it’s, not exactly common. What that means is that the reserves that they have to the grid have just been depleted because, as you talked about it’s as simple as supply and demand, that demand has been so high all day with people trying to heat their homes as cold as it is Outside and the supply just hasn’t been able to hit it now. One thing that’s been interesting to watch is that they show their reserves online and they got down to about the 900 range just a few minutes ago, about 1700 megawatts is the threshold for that eea. One right or excuse me, the eea, three, where we’re at now they’re already back up near 3, 000. So above the threshold for eea, one that’s, the first emergency level, so it’s unclear at this point how long this might go on. But as you talked about with encore, you’ve got 130 000 people in the areas they service, which isn’t just vfw, but 130 000 people who are without power right now. We talked all day. People need to continue even with this going on right now, go ahead and start your load of laundry right now. You need to keep the thermostats as low, as you know, is tolerable for you above 55 don’t go crazy, but below 68. If you can and then really you know, don’t run the dishwashers, you know, don’t run the washers and dryers the oven things that we’ve talked about all day, all those heavy appliances um.

But, as i mentioned, this has really played out exactly as ercot kind of expected. They said we could hit emergency conditions by tonight, that’s exactly what happened. They said we could have outages by the early morning, that’s, where we’re at now and one other. I guess one other quick point that it’s important to point out, because we’ve been asked this across the day that ercot isn’t deciding you know whose power goes out they’re telling his providers, these utility providers and those providers are handling the specifics. So urcott is just saying: hey: we need you to help lower the demand on the system to help get these reserves back up and that’s what’s happening right now. Cleo, william we’re talking about rotating outages, but do we know if this is a county by county basis? I mean do people in plano know that hey my power might be out at some point today. Will we know where that happens? Yeah i’m, not sure exactly if they’re going, i can’t imagine it’s exactly like this home that home, you know, it’s imagine a grid at a time right right. So it’s, not necessarily you know in you know picking either other home or something along those lines. But keeping this rotating as it goes along and once again, william for people listening uh this morning. How can we help out ercot so that we don’t see so many outages in the next couple of days or so yeah? We continue to say this and that’s really been.

I mean, frankly, if you think about it the theme for the years. We need to be helping other people, even if you know, and to put ourselves at risk a little bit. So you need to be turning down. Your thermostats, you need to not be running any of those heavy appliances, any lights that you can turn off turn those off. You know unplug the toaster, any appliances you’re not using it’s, not just about that anything plugged in you know every little bit helps it’s. Those large industrial, uh users that were shut down in eea to that second to last level, um and that’s, once they get rid of those large uses of the system. It really comes down to you and i and every little bit that we can do turning off lights, unplugging things from the outlets that can really help. Uh reduce the amount of time that we’re dealing with these rolling outages because obviously it’s a problem for everybody right. William, before you go here, will the outages only last for about 15 to 30 minutes, or could it be longer i’m sure a lot of people waking up and it you know it may be cold in their home right now they can’t turn on a light. So what’s the deal with that right. No, that is important to know so this isn’t gon na, if your power’s out right now, um and maybe you’re, watching this on a phone or a charged laptop or something along those lines.

This isn’t gon na last forever, and if this happens to you soon, it’s 15 to 45 minutes is the guidance that we’ve been given right. 15 to 45 minutes is how long you can expect to be dealing without power, so it certainly feels like forever when it’s happening to you but it’s, just a short period of time and again it’s to really help everybody across the state of texas. Think about that to help lower this strain because it is, it is certainly cold outside right now i know everybody’s trying to stay warm but that’s just really overloading the system. At the moment and william, we brought up the map there to show where those outages are. How can people find this map and see what’s going on in their neck of the woods gotcha? If you i mean, frankly, if you just google outage map encore, it will pop up. The url is stormcenter.onport.com that’s stormcenter.encore.com and you can see where those outages are. You can even report outages if you need to, but certainly they at this point they kind of know who they’re dealing with because they’re the ones who are deciding where this power’s you know going off and on all right. William. Thank you so much for joining us. This morning, absolutely thank you all right, so plano right now, arlington fort worth and richardson are now without power. We will be covering this throughout the next few days, ercot announcing and wrote those rotating outages happening across texas.

We will be tracking this throughout the morning here. Please join us here on daybreak at 4 30.. Please download our wfa weather app and we are always online at wfaa.com. We know it is cold right now, please conserve energy. The best you can, i think we have our jason whiteley, also live with us this morning. Jason good morning, hey cleo you’ve been here for quite some time. This is definitely a historic moment. Yeah dude, you know. Indeed it is. You know you mentioned a few of the the places that don’t have power. Now, just you know, we’re hearing about frisco plano richardson. As i look at the encore map here, uh is arlington fort worth uh far. You know farther out into weather for two, but you know keep in mind. This is not just north texas here i’m. Looking at the center point, map which covers the uh houston area and uh, 97 000 customers are without lights there and just for some context, i’ve watched since this started about uh almost an hour ago now this emergency uh energy alert level three and uh, like the Houston area, for example, has gone down: 130 000 customers without uh electricity to 97 000, and we watched encores, you know double from about 60, 000 or so uh. Customers to 126 is what it’s at now. But you know for for people who have lived in north texas for a few minutes here uh, you know the last time we had this was february 2011, like william mentioned that’s, when the super bowl was in arlington for the first time, wow and and we got The ice storm there, the ice built up on the transmission lines.

It knocked those down um so it’s, something that we don’t want to deal with, but something we have to. Obviously you know handle right now, i’ve seen people asking online too. You know why not just take off the parking lots that are uh. You know empty right now, with the lights on and some of these other businesses and office towers that don’t have anyone have anyone in it and they are doing that right now, uh. You know these providers, like encore, are taking them offline, but they’re, also at a level where they’re having to take um. You know you and i offline to in our homes, and when i was on the call with encore earlier today this afternoon or yesterday afternoon, rather at two o’clock encore was talking about it. Really anticipated midday today on monday is when it would really uh get to the level where it would have to uh. You know go through potentially rotating outages, so this is sneaked up a heck of a lot faster than they anticipated now here’s. What we don’t know right now, we don’t know what led to this. Obviously demand exceeded supply right. They warned earlier also that if a generating station went line or uh, you know a large area, you know happened to go offline for whatever reason that would obviously take down uh quite a few people, so that could have happened. We’Re, just waiting for encore to to give us an idea of uh of what happened there.

One other thing too that’s worth uh worth pointing out is that you know right now: what’s happening in austin right there off the uh on the east side of town, where, where cops headquarters is urcats on the phone they’re talking to operators of the other grids in The country we were already buying electricity from mexico it’s something we do regularly in texas, but we were already doing that and now we’re trying to get even more to help alleviate demand on the uh on the texas grid. Here so it’s it’s it’s a uh, a situation that looks like it is improving a little bit here over the last hour. But you know, as we look ahead for the next four or five days uh. This is something that that we could still be facing uh, because the the current forecast map that ercot was showing is that demand would exceed supply at several points later today, wow so it’s, something we still have to keep in mind. I mean jason we’ve got people sending in questions already this morning at what 2 21 this morning wondering. Is this going to happen over the next few days and do they know what time it will happen? Will it happen while they’re sleeping like it did tonight or early this morning, rather yeah that’s, a good question and and for these massive uh transmission providers like encore in north texas and central texas and west texas and then center point down in the houston area? They’Re? Not at an ability where they can, they can send out.

You know reverse 9, 1 1, or something like that to let people know so. What they’re doing essentially is just shutting off large neighborhoods at a time uh they’re taking them down like that. Smaller areas like uh, like in denton and benton county, it has its own uh electric provider up there, the municipal electric provider, and it is able to actually um. You know send messages to uh customers to let them know hey you’re, you know, you’re, electric service is going to be out for the next half hour so to give people a heads up, but it is 2 20 in the morning and you know who’s really, anticipating This right now jason. Once again, you know state officials at this point and they have been for the past few days as you’ve been covering they’re really asking texans at this point to conserve as much electricity as they can out. How can people do that safely and still stay warm yeah and that’s? What urcot pointed out today, dan woodfin is one of the uh senior uh directors for systems operations down there, and he said you know the point for all this is yes lower your you know. Stop running your uh, your your dishwasher and your dryer and things like that. But only do these things if you can do them safely and reliably. You probably don’t need your dryer, your dishwasher right now, but you probably you know, depending on your house, if it’s an older house, you probably do need your heat and older houses sometimes or places that don’t have good insulation might need to run your heat a little.

A little higher to stay warm so do as much as you can unplug things that you aren’t using computers. You know shut them down and and unplug them. If you can um to to help out with this and keep in mind, this is something we have to deal with through. You know, potentially at least thursday uh, perhaps into friday jason i’m, trying to answer as many questions as i can with people that are watching us this morning. Some people asking can they actually call encore and tell them that they have a medical issue in their home and and have their power turned back on i’m? Not too sure about this particular question: yeah, no that’s, a fantastic question and most of the people who have uh like people who are on oxygen hospitals, emergency facilities, encore already knows about these people: okay, um. My dad had uh um to be on oxygen for quite a while and when, when he got oxygen physically delivered to his house uh, they also notified the electric provider. Hey. The person at this address is on oxygen and needs uh electricity to stay alive. So most of the people who who are actually you know on these life saving devices are already known by encore hospitals. Now, in 2011, hospitals weren’t supposed to be taken offline, but there were mistakes made, so hospitals were taken offline back in 2011 it became a huge deal but hospitals, emergency facilities, 9 1 1 centers.

These places which do have their own uh. You know generators they aren’t supposed to be taken offline and to answer the question to uh. Hopefully, everyone who is in need of life saving electrical equipment, uh has notified encore already jason. Is there any chance that the i guess the 15 to 30 minute threshold could change in the next few days and be a bit longer? Yeah yeah, i mean you know earlier today, uh dan woodfin was saying 15 to 30. Minutes is what it’s going to be that and that’s what it was back in 2011 as well too, but in 2011 we did see some issues not only with taking hospitals offline mistakenly, but when these uh generating facilities were were taken down taken offline, they were having Trouble starting some of them back up and that delayed things too, and you know obviously like 2011, just like today, it’s below freezing and so that kind of slowed things down, but on average. I would not anticipate this to happen longer than 15 to 30 minutes. 45. Minutes at most and they give the window 15 to 45 minutes, but i think about 30 minutes is about about the average. They were saying: jason. We just got an update from ercot, they say, responsive reserve has been recalled. What does that mean? So let me let me just while i’m on the i’ve got you on the line: let’s just look at the uh, so okay yeah, so ercot is above 3300 megawatts of reserve.

So that means essentially that i’m, not er god. I don’t want to say this, but at 3 300 megawatts of reserve. That means essentially that the rotating outages will likely come to an end very fast. Okay, essentially anything that goes below megawatts of uh of reserve power that’s when it goes into your emergency energy alert levels, um so we’re at 3300. It looks like we’re back into the clear right here um, but you know this. This can change quickly. This whole thing changed within probably 30 minutes or so um. Earlier to you know what about an hour ago from like one to 125, it went from emergency energy over one to two to three within like 20 minutes, so it can change super fast. But it looks like right now that er, these rotating out just worked. It it’s worked that’s the good news here. The system physically worked and they got enough generating capacity about capacity online and likely got some uh, some electricity from other grids and perhaps even mexico, to help out in the situation and jason before you go for anyone. Just just joining us right now: this is all in an effort to protect the electric grid. Yeah, absolutely i mean you know. The last thing you want to do is have a critical failure of the electric grid, which you know or ercot operates most all of texas. Um so that’s the whole point of this, and they do it in stages.

The good news is right now it looks like the rotating outages for for homes, for individuals like us is over an hour into it here, it’s already over, which is great news, but the whole point of this is is to protect the grid to make sure there’s Enough uh electricity and reserve uh to handle all the demand, and you know we know there is a heck of a lot of demand right now with furnaces running with uh. You know everything else as we try to stay warm jason. Thank you so much fred for joining us this morning and, like you said this could be the deal over the next few days. Absolutely i mean seriously get ready for it and uh. You know keep your external cell phones charged or your external batteries charged keep things that you need already charged ready to go just in case uh. You know this happens again and you know worst case if it happens longer than anyone anticipates all right thanks. There jason sure so once again, ercode announcing those rotating electric outages, which typically could last for about 15 to 45 minutes in the last few minutes here, ercod announcing that they say the response of reserve has now been recalled. We will be following this throughout the morning parts of dallas, plano, arlington fort worth and richardson without power throughout the night. Here it is now starting to improve as they work to protect the electric grid, a lot of people just using a lot of energy right now.

Just to stay warm, but we need to conserve as much as we can please download our wfa weather app. This is just the beginning of this winter weather event. Y’All. You can see what’s going on with our live radar on that app go ahead and send us your pictures, your videos of what’s, going on in your neck of the woods and we will be live once again at 4, 30 for daybreak.

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