Power outages are forcing rolling blackouts across Texas

The rotating outages are likely to last all of Monday morning and may continue until the state emergency ends, said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a major network operator that controls about 90% of the state’s electrical load.

Rotating power outages occur when power companies cut off power to residential neighborhoods and small businesses, typically for 10 to 45 minutes before being rotated to another location, ERCOT said. Traffic lights and infrastructure can also lose power during these power outages.

Rolling blackouts are sometimes used in California during heat waves, but extremely cold weather forced the action in Texas, where the winter storm has already knocked out power to more than 2.6 million customers, poweroutage.us said.

Temperatures in the high teens were predicted for Dallas on Monday, while Houston expected a high temperature in the mid-20s.

City of Houston said the storm may be here several days and people may experience a rolling blackout more than once.

The city recommended that people save energy by turning the thermostat down to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, disconnecting non-essential lights and appliances, opening curtains during the day to allow sunlight, and closing curtains at night to reduce heat loss.

Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said the rolling power outages caused several police facilities to operate on emergency generators.

“Reduce power outages by keeping usage to a minimum,” Acevedo tweeted Monday.

ERCOT ordered rollout around noon. 1:30 local time (2:30 ET) Monday. ERCOT put a new winter-peak demand for electricity between kl. 6-7 Sunday and topped the old record from January 2018, ERCOT said in a tweet.

“We are experiencing record-breaking electrical demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas,” ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness said in a press release. “At the same time, we are dealing with production disruptions that are higher than normal due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supply available to production units.”

Entergy Texas, which supplies power to about 461,000 customers in 27 counties in the state, said according to its website that it started rolling out on Monday.

“We apologize for the inconvenience these interruptions may cause, but we have an unusual situation right now driven by extreme weather conditions. We are working to respond and restore power as soon as possible,” said Stuart Barrett, vice president of customer service.

“While our crews worked to prepare for this storm, a loss of generation combined with the peak load has caused strain on the system. As a result, we lack the necessary power to meet our customers’ demands in Southeast Texas.”

CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin contributed to this story.

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