Rare deep freeze leaves more than 2 million Texas customers without power

(Reuters) - A rare deep freeze in Texas that raised demand for power forced the U.S. state's electric grid operator on Monday to impose rotating blackouts that left more than 2 million customers without electricity. The PowerOutage.us website - an ongoing project to track power outages - said 2,703,967 Texas customers were experiencing outages at 10:49 p.m.

Reuters February 16, 2021 00:11:34 IST
Rare deep freeze leaves more than 2 million Texas customers without power

Rare deep freeze leaves more than 2 million Texas customers without power

(Reuters) - A rare deep freeze in Texas that raised demand for power forced the U.S. state's electric grid operator on Monday to impose rotating blackouts that left more than 2 million customers without electricity.

The PowerOutage.us website - an ongoing project to track power outages - said 2,703,967 Texas customers were experiencing outages at 10:49 p.m. CST (1649 GMT).

President Joe Biden declared an emergency on Monday, unlocking federal assistance to Texas, where temperatures on Monday ranged from 21 to minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 to minus 22 Celsius).

Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport said in a statement that its airfield would remain closed until 1 p.m. CST (1900 GMT) while the city's Hobby Airport will cease operations until at least Tuesday due to the inclement weather.

Apart from Texas, much of the United States from the Pacific Northwest through the Great Plains and into the mid-Atlantic states was in the grip of bone-chilling weather over the three-day Presidents Day holiday weekend.

In Louisiana, where freezing temperatures also prompted power outages and road closures, some parishes were implementing curfews to keep residents off the road.

RECORD DEMAND

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) sought to cut power use in response to a winter record of 69,150 MW on Sunday evening, more than 3,200 MW higher than the previous winter peak in January 2018.

About 10,500 MW of customer load was shed at the highest point, enough power to serve approximately two million homes, it said, adding that extreme weather caused many generating units across fuel types to trip offline and become unavailable.

As of early Monday, it said over 30,000 MW of generation had been forced off the system, and rotating outages would likely last throughout the morning and could be initiated until the weather emergency ended.

"Controlled outages will continue through today and into early tomorrow, possibly all of tomorrow," Dan Woodfin, director of systems operations at ERCOT, said in a briefing on Monday.

The storms knocked out nearly half the Texas wind power generation capacity on Sunday. Wind generation ranks as the second-largest source of electricity in Texas, accounting for 23% of state power supplies, ERCOT estimates.

Of the 25,000-plus megawatts of wind power capacity normally available in Texas, 12,000 megawatts were out of service on Sunday morning, an ERCOT spokeswoman said.

An emergency notice issued by the regulator urged customers to limit power usage and prevent an uncontrolled systemwide outage.

The National Weather Service said an Arctic air mass had spread southwards, well beyond areas accustomed to freezing weather, with winter storm warnings posted for most of the Gulf Coast region, Oklahoma and Missouri.

The spot price of electricity on the Texas power grid spiked more than 10,000% on Monday. [NGA/]

The cold snap has led to production disruptions and shutdowns in oil refineries and natural gas facilities across Texas.[REF/OUT]

Power grid operator Southwest Power Pool, which coordinates electricity supply across a vast swath of the country, on Monday declared an "Energy Emergency Alert Level 2" due to energy shortages.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum, David Goodman and Howard Goller)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.