Winter Outage Outlook: Where we stand now, and what to expect in the coming days

Winter Outage Outlook: Where we stand now, and what to expect in the coming days

CoServ continues to have daily, sometimes hourly, contact with Brazos Electric, our wholesale power supplier, regarding the amount of load to shed in order to help ERCOT maintain the integrity of the electric grid. Photo: NICHOLAS SAKELARIS / CoServ

 

CORINTH, Texas – February 15, 2021 – The following are important updates from CoServ regarding the unprecedented winter storm that prompted ERCOT to declare a statewide power emergency and order all electric utilities in Texas to begin rotating outages.

  • As of 7:30 p.m. Monday, statewide outages ordered by Electric Reliability Council of Texas to maintain the stability of the electric grid are continuing.
  • According to ERCOT, conditions may improve within the next 24 hours. However, a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect through 6 a.m. Thursday. Temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing during this period.  CoServ is advising all Members to prepare for potential outages over the next several days.
  • If CoServ Members or Customers are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, we are encouraging them, as we always do, to call 911.

Based on thousands of emails, phone calls and social media posts, here is a brief FAQ featuring the Top 3 Questions that customers had for us Monday:

  1. Why have I experienced several outages while others have experienced one or fewer? Load is shed by feeder, with priority given to feeders based on public health and safety, such as hospitals, nursing homes and fire departments. Please note that we could be required to shed this critical load, as well, and have been communicating with hospitals, nursing homes and fire departments.
  2. When will my power be restored? That is unknown. CoServ does not know when ERCOT may lift the order for rotating outages. As ERCOT allows utilities to restore load, we will do so. At the beginning of this emergency, we expected individual outages to be approximately 30 minutes. However, as the amount of load to shed was increased, the duration of the outages increased. Should ERCOT increase the amounts of load that CoServ is required to shed from the current levels, you should expect the duration of your outage to increase.
  3. Why did this happen? The sustained, historic low temperatures resulted in record electricity use. When it comes to electricity, demand must always equal supply. If demand outstrips supply, the potential exists for the entire electric grid to collapse. To prevent this, ERCOT has a system of rotating outages – temporary, controlled events designed to maintain grid stability and prevent an uncontrolled event from happening. While the past few days have been stressful and uncomfortable, the alternative to these outages – an uncontrolled event resulting in a true blackout – is far worse and would result in extended restoration times.

CoServ Employees are working diligently to respond to this winter weather emergency. However, threats to harm our employees are misguided. We understand the frustration and fear that prompts such comments, but they have no place during such a critical time that we are all experiencing together.


CoServ is an electric cooperative and natural gas distribution company serving North Texas. Incorporated as Denton County Electric Cooperative in 1937, CoServ Electric is one of the largest electric cooperatives in the country, serving about 264,000 electric meters across Denton, Collin and four other North Texas counties. CoServ Gas was established in 1998 and serves more than 137,000 gas meters in Denton, Collin and Kaufman counties. CoServ’s mission is to deliver excellent service to our Members and Customers by providing safe and reliable energy solutions.   

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