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ERCOT instructs utilities to begin rotating outages; conservation remains critical

Special to the Bulletin
ONCOR

DALLAS — On Monday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the governing body that oversees the electric grid in Texas, has instructed utilities to begin rotating outages, which are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service that rotate through different parts of the electric grid.

During this time, conservation remains critical and ERCOT continues to urge all Texans to limit and reduce their electric use as much as possible. Rotating outages typically last 15-45 minutes in each area but may vary. These outages have been proven effective at protecting the electric grid during times of incredibly high electric demand and low supply.

Some customers may experience longer outages if power surges cause equipment failure during the restoration process. Potential power surges can be minimized by turning off appliances, lights and other equipment, except for one task light to determine when power has been restored.

Customers without power for more than 45 minutes should report outages to Oncor by calling 888.313.4747 or texting OUT to 66267 if they are registered in My Oncor Alerts. While it is not known at this time how long the need for rotating outages will last, Oncor will immediately notify customers once ERCOT determines these outages should cease. 

“Oncor recognizes how unsettling rotating outages can be to our customers, especially in the face of this severe winter weather, and we will work hard to minimize the impact of these outages as much as possible,” said Connie Piloto, Oncor Director of Communications. “We ask customers to please continue to conserve what they can. We’ve heard firsthand from many of our customers about the conservation efforts they have made and we greatly appreciate everyone’s continued participation.”

Customers can help by taking the following conservation steps. Given the prolonged, below-freezing temperatures, conservation measures should be implemented safely and within reason.

Turn down thermostats to 68-degrees.

Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.

Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.

Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).

Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Safety, both for customers and crews, is the single most important principle of Oncor. During these rotating outages, customers are encouraged to take safety precautions such as staying off the road as much as possible, checking in on neighbors – especially senior citizens and anyone with a medical condition – and having a safety kit prepared and accessible. Anyone experiencing a life-threatening emergency should immediately call 911.