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In Frigid Texas, a 'Last Resort' Move to Save Power

Utility begins rotating blackouts
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2021 10:40 AM CST
In Frigid Texas, a 'Last Resort' Move to Save Power
Snow covers the streets after a storm Monday in Fort Worth, Texas.   (Yffy Yossifor/Star-Telegram via AP)

A winter storm dropping snow and ice also sent temperatures plunging across the southern Plains, prompting a power emergency in Texas a day after conditions canceled flights and impacted traffic across large swaths of the US. Rotating power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, early Monday morning, meaning hundreds of thousands went without electricity for short periods as temperatures fell into the teens near Dallas and 20s around Houston, per the AP. "We urge Texans to put safety first," ERCOT tweeted as it urged residents to reduce electricity use. The council manages the flow of electric power in the state. "Traffic lights and other infrastructure may be temporarily without power," the council said.

The council described the rotating outages as a "last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole," adding that utility transmission companies are tasked with determining how to reduce demand on the system. Nearly 2.6 million customers in Texas were in the dark as of 8:20am local time, according to, a utility tracking site. By midmorning, 3,000 flights had been canceled across the country, about 1,600 of them at Dallas/Fort Worth International and Bush Intercontinental airports in Texas. At DFW, the temperature was 4 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 degrees colder than Moscow. Up to 12 inches of snow was expected across parts of the southern Plains into Monday, along with accumulating ice.

(More Texas stories.)

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