Tag Archives: ERCOT

Power keeps me on edge

So … the power blinked off for a few minutes today in our North Texas community. The outage appeared to be widespread.

Then it came back on for a couple of seconds, then it went dark again.

It stayed dark for, oh, about 15 more minutes. It’s back on at this moment.

Truth is, though, I am getting the heebie-jeebies over the status of our electrical system. It’s not supposed to be this squirrely. I mean, we live in the energy capital of the universe. We’re supposed to be the highest of the high-tech regions anywhere on Earth.

Memories of the Winter of 2021 are too fresh in our minds. The power went out for several days during the killer freeze this past February.

I get that we cannot control every single aspect of our lives, given our reliance on technology that, after all, is developed by fellow fallible human beings.

Still, this brief power failure makes me nervous as all get-out.

Oh, I should add that the weather today is spectacularly gorgeous.

I am going to hope for the best.


Well, we got through it

Update time on our storm preparation and whether it worked for us: Yes. It did work for my wife and me. Good thing, too, because the lights went out during the night for several hours.

North and West Texas are enduring a serious winter blast as I write this brief post. Our North Texas home went dark last night around 10:30. The lights flickered back on around midnight for about two or three minutes, then they went out again; they stayed out for about four hours.

I won’t blame Gov. Greg Abbott for what happened. Yes, he did promise “the lights will stay on.” He was talking about power supply and indicated there would be a minimum of what he called “load shed” events with the utility grid shutting down to reduce demand on electrical power.

Gov. Abbott couldn’t prevent iced-over tree limbs from falling on power lines, which is what happened in areas around Collin County during the night. As for our neighborhood, I believe a transformer shorted out.

Hey, no sweat. The heroes who comprise our utility crews worked hard in horrible weather to restore the power.

Believe me when I say that all of us around here are a bit nervous given what happened to Texas a year ago when the power grid failed and put millions of us in the dark for far longer than we should have been.

We don’t know what the immediate future — meaning tonight and perhaps the next time — will hold in store. We do know that we plan to stay ready for whatever happens.


Getting ready for worst

As I write this blog post, I am sitting in my North Texas home prepared for the worst from the latest winter storm to roll in over us.

To be clear, it’s not that I expect the worst. It’s just that after what we endured a year ago when millions of Texans froze in the dark during zero-degree winter blasts, no one I am aware of is taking any chances this year.

A member of our family told us this morning she ventured to the grocery store to buy some food and found the shelves “terribly picked over.” Seems that others in her neighborhood had the same thought. Oh, by the way, she said she and her family are well-stocked and ready for what is coming.

The Texas Tribune reports: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the grid, issued a winter storm watch through Sunday, saying it expects high energy demand through the duration of the cold front. But even with sleet, snow and ice predicted for a large swath of the state, ERCOT says it has sufficient power generation to meet the anticipated demand.

What a Texas winter storm means for the power grid | The Texas Tribune

The weather forecasters and the TV news presenters over the past couple of days have spoken to viewers with a twinge of frantic urgency in their voices. The blast that is rolling in isn’t as dramatic as what we endured a year ago, but our experience from February 2021 is too fresh in our memories for us to take it too lightly.

My wife has sheltered some of her treasured plants around the front of our house; she has filled several containers with fresh water; we’ve secured some candles; oh, and Toby the Puppy is going nowhere outside unless he insists that he has to relieve himself (he’ll let us know).

We didn’t suffer nearly the misery that many other Texans endured a year ago. Our lights were out for a few hours; we lost water for a little more than a day. Yes, there were those who suffered through several dark and waterless days in 2021. Still, we are prepared for the worst of this next winter blast.

We are going to hope for the best. We might even offer a prayer.


Storm makes me nervous

I cannot possibly be the only Texas resident who is suffering the nervous jerks as we await the arrival of this winter storm.

We went through a damn rough period just about a year ago in these parts when the electrical power grid failed. We lost our water supply for a time, too. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the managers of our grid, came under intense criticism over the power failure; so did the Public Utility Commission of Texas. ERCOT’s management team quit or was fired, along with the entire PUC.

Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to fix the grid. I am not sure it’s been fixed. Neither is anyone else. Abbott said a few weeks ago that “I guarantee the lights will stay on” this winter. Just this week, he walked back that bold assertion; now he said there is no guarantee possible.

So, yes, I am nervous about the storm that is sweeping into Texas this week. The weather forecasters tell us it won’t be as nasty and as severe as it was this past winter.

I do hope they’re right.


Hold it together, ERCOT

It has gotten cold in North Texas, which by itself is no great shakes, except that our memories are fresh from what happened a year ago when the mercury fell to, um, really hideous levels.

The electrical grid failed. So did our water supply.

We aren’t nearly as cold in this third week of January 2022 as we were in the middle of February 2021, so I am not sitting on pins and needles … just yet.

Gov. Greg Abbott has promised that the lights will “stay on” this winter. So has the head of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Ditto for the folks who run the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that manages our state’s power grid.

All I can say at this moment is: It had better hold up! Or else!

I don’t what the “or else” would produce. I just know that we’re still less than halfway through the winter season. Last year was a serious downer. None of us wants a repeat of the disaster that befell the state.

The pols who are responsible for ensuring we stay warm and watered don’t want it, either.


Nervous about the chill

This past winter’s big freeze and the misery it created has inflicted me with the nervous jerks as we prepare for this winter’s first big chill.

The temperature in North Texas is going to dip tonight into the low 20s, with wind chills registering in the low to mid-teens. There once was a time when I didn’t worry too much about whether the electricity and the water would hold up.

The disaster brought by the February 2021 freeze has disabused me of the complacency. We’re taking extra steps tonight to ensure we don’t lose water if the power goes out.

We likely should have been prepared better this past winter. We weren’t, I am ashamed to acknowledge. This year it’s different.

We also have that issue dealing with whether our electrical grid will hold up if Mother Nature returns another killer blast this winter. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the managers of our electrical grid, assure us — along with Gov. Greg Abbott — that our grid will hold up. ERCOT says we won’t suffer the misery we endured nearly a year ago.

ERCOT and Abbott had better be right on this one.

We aren’t going to place all our faith in their promises, though. We’ll hunker down and be ready for the worst if it comes.


Beto has a shot, if …

Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/AP/REX/Shutterstock

A gentleman with whom I had breakfast today has a theory about the upcoming race for Texas governor I feel like sharing.

It goes like this …

Beto O’Rourke is likely to get hammered by Greg Abbott if O’Rourke is nominated by Democrats and runs against the Republican governor in the fall. But he has a possible path to victory.

It depends on whether Abbott fails to deliver on his promise to keep the electricity flowing this coming winter. If the lights go out because the electrical grid cannot withstand the demand placed on it by severe cold, then O’Rourke might be able to say, according to my friend, “I can do better than that.”

Sure enough. O’Rourke then would have to explain how he would ensure that the electric grid managers keep the lights on and our furnaces functioning.

Absent that, my friend said, O’Rourke has no chance to defeat a Republican governor in this still-quite-Republican state.

Gov. Abbott had better pray that the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas keeps the lights on for the duration of the winter. His political career might depend on it.


‘Lights will stay on’? They had better

Good news has arrived — maybe — for Texans who shivered earlier this year during the killer freeze that paralyzed the state in February.

The lights “will stay on” this winter, says the head of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the guy who runs the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the outfit that manages the state’s electrical grid.

Oh, man. They had better be right.

PUC chairman Peter Lake and ERCOT interim CEO Brad Jones have given assurances that the power grid won’t overload and break down as it did in mid-February, sending millions of Texans into the deep freeze, some of them for several weeks. What’s more, the grid failure resulted in the loss of water delivery for many thousands of Texans; that crisis lasted for weeks in many communities.

The Legislature convened a special session to fix the problem and Gov. Greg Abbott assures us that it’s fixed. And we believe this politician, right? Not necessarily.

One of the pols who wants to defeat him, Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, says the natural gas lines haven’t yet been fully winterized, that they need more attention. I’m not going to buy into O’Rourke’s criticism fully, either.

Still, with winter just a few days away from when the calendar tells us it’s here, I am going to follow the time-honored advice handed down by my parents: hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Which is my way of saying I don’t trust the folks who are supposed to deliver the goods on the product for which I pay good money!


Why can’t they fix this electrical grid?

The Texas Tribune has written a story with a frightening lead paragraph, which states …

Electricity outages in Texas could occur this winter if the state experiences a cold snap that forces many power plants offline at the same time as demand for power is high, according to an analysis by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The outages could occur despite better preparations by power plants to operate in cold weather.

What the hell? I thought the Texas Legislature was going to repair those problems, that it was going to “invest” lots of money to ensure that ERCOT’s electrical system was winterized sufficiently to protect us against the misery that befell us this past February.

I am one Texas resident — who I am sure speaks for millions of others — who does not want to endure what we went through early this year. Our homes went dark. Many of our water pipes froze. Our water supply went down for a time.

ERCOT estimates show Texas grid vulnerable this winter, despite preparations | The Texas Tribune

I am not going to predict we’ll have sub-zero temperatures again this winter. I saw a forecast that suggested the La Nina current is going to create a warmer, drier winter for Texas in 2021-22. I hope it’s true.

If it isn’t, then that Legislature of ours ought to have hell to pay if ERCOT’s grid shuts down.


Hoping the grid holds up

My ol’ trick knee is acting up again.

It’s throbbing and telling me I ought to worry about whether the Texas electrical grid is going to hold up if we get another winter blast like the one that paralyzed us this past February.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid froze up. It sent millions of Texas households — including ours — into the dark while the temperature hovered near or below zero. We came through OK. Our water supply in Princeton shut down for a little while, but that recovered, too.

The Legislature was supposed to hustle to ensure that ERCOT’s grid was winterized to prevent future catastrophes. I have not heard much from lawmakers about what they did to make sure that the “reliability” of ERCOT holds up this coming winter.

I wonder aloud about this because the temperatures are falling in North Texas, as they are expected to do. We’re well into autumn and the first day of winter is only about five weeks away.

The trick knee, though, keeps me wondering whether the state has done what it was supposed to do or whether it was too worried about banning abortion and suppressing Texans’ ability to vote.

We’ve got some pressing issues out here, lawmakers. Make damn sure you pay attention to us.