Rolling power outages are in effect across the state of Texas as officials work to conserve as much electricity as possible during extreme cold and record demand on the grid.
Officials are asking Texans to conserve as much electricity as they can safely and reliably over the coming days as record-low temperatures are expected to plunge the state further into a dangerous winter storm. Many of you may have already experienced rolling blackouts due to the power strain. Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help you navigate through the process.
How long will the power outages last?
Outages are expected to last anywhere between 15 minutes to 45 minutes but thousands have experienced no power for several hours. Officials say they are "necessary to maintain the reliability of the system."
Will the power outages happen again?
ERCOT expects rotating outages to last throughout Monday morning and said they could be in place until the "weather emergency ends." The agency did not define what that would look like.
“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.
Below is a breakdown of how the agency determines when to go into rotating outages.
What should I do when I lose power?
- Close any blinds/curtains or put blankets or towels up to cover windows and provide insulation
- Close off rooms to avoid losing heat
- Stuff towels in cracks under doors, esp. exterior ones
- Wear layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing, especially warm socks, and gloves if you have them
- Eat and drink food to provide energy to warm the body but avoid alcohol or caffeine
- If you have candles, lighting them can help act as a heat source, especially in an enclosed space. But do not rely on them, and remember to practice good fire safety.
What shouldn't I do if I lose power?
- Under no circumstances should you bring a generator inside. They should remain 30 feet away from your home
- Don't use a stove or oven for heat, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning
How can I conserve power?
- Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees
- Keep lights off when not in a room
- Unplug appliances not in use
- Avoid using large appliances like washing machines, esp. during peak times
- Close off heat escape routes like drafty doors or fireplace dampers (when not in use)
- Set your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise to force warm air downwards
- Close blinds and shades at night to keep out cold air. Open them during the day to allow sunshine in