ERCOT releases preliminary report on outages during February storm

Millions in Texas had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created...
Millions in Texas had no power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state's power grid and causing widespread blackouts. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip/file)(David J. Phillip | AP)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 2:55 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT, which oversees most of the state’s electric grid, released a preliminary report Tuesday on the power outages during the historic February storm, which claimed the lives of at least 125 people.

The report attributes generator outages and reductions during the bitter freeze from Feb. 14 to Feb. 19 primarily to weather related problems including frozen equipment, ice accumulation on wind turbine blades, snow and ice cover on solar panels and flooded equipment resulting from melting snow and ice.

Other factors include existing outages, some of which ended before or during the winter weather event; fuel issues including a lack of fuel, contaminated fuel, fuel supply instability, low gas pressure or les efficient alternative fuel supplies; and general equipment failures and malfunctions.

The amount of outaged capacity…increased sharply as the storm arrived on Sunday and stayed fairly constant from late morning on Monday to mid-day on Wednesday,” the report says.

“However…the net level of outages masks the volatility in generation availability that continued throughout the week, with generators continuing to go out of service and come into service throughout the duration of the event,” the report says.

“This volatility made it difficult to accurately forecast an end to emergency conditions.”

The highest period of “unavailable capacity” occurred at 8 a.m. on Feb. 16.

The storm claimed at least seven lives in Central Texas including one in Freestone County, two in Hill County, one in Leon County, one in Limestone County, one in McLennan County and one in San Saba County.

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