ERCOT sets demand record, observes level 1 power emergency

Austin, August 2, 2011 -- The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, system operator for the state's bulk transmission grid, initiated Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 at 2:40 p.m., August 2, when responsive reserves dropped below 2,300 MW.

Capacity is expected to be tight over the peak August 2, and ERCOT operators are closely monitoring the situation.

Forecast for peak demand August 2 is 67,084 MW, exceeding the August 1 new all-time record of 66,867 MW. Prior to 2011, the record was 65,776 MW (Aug. 23, 2010).

The Energy Emergency Alert procedures are a progressive series of steps that allow ERCOT to bring on power from other grids if available, beginning with a Power Watch (Energy Emergency Alert Level 1).

If the situation does not improve, ERCOT escalates to a Power Warning (Energy Emergency Alert Level 2), allowing operators to drop large commercial/industrial load resources under contract to be interrupted during an emergency.

If the capacity shortage is not relieved by the contract demand response, ERCOT escalates to a Power Emergency (Energy Emergency Alert Level 3) and will instruct utilities to reduce demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level.

These controlled temporary interruptions of electrical service – or rotating outages – typically last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.

Consumers should contact the utility company/ transmission provider listed on their electric bill for information about power outages at their homes or business, or about rotating outage procedures for their area.

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