Rolling power outages and the Super Bowl

Posted on 03 Feb 2011 at 10:09am

HARDY HABERMAN  |  Dungeon Diary

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, mandated rolling power outages to reduce demand during peak periods, at least that was the story. These lovely folks gave no warning, they just started cutting power.

Now comes word that critical services did not get cut — hospitals and emergency services, and the stadium in Arlington. Say what? Yup, DART riders got stranded as power to critical signaling devices was cut, hotel guests were stuck in dark elevators and stairwells, disabled people were stuck in their homes in the dark, but Jerry Frigging Jones and his stadium had all the power they needed. God forbid football gets delayed!

So what the hell does the Super Bowl have that that you and I don’t? Apparently cutting power would be a security risk. That is the lame story anyway.

So finally Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst gave us the real answer. Cold weather knocked out about 50 of the 550 power plants in Texas and there also was an increase in demand.

“Lack of adequate winterization and preparation appear to be a major cause of the outages,” he said in a statement. “This is unusually cold weather for Texas, but we obviously need to ensure that we are adequately prepared. That’s why we will continue to work with state agencies and energy providers to find out where problems occurred and how to prevent them in the future.”

So it comes down the the magic Genni of deregulation. Companies bent on squeezing every penny from their investments didn’t have a plan in place for cold weather. Lovely! Instead of buying power from other grids, they just force their problem on the state’s citizens. Meanwhile practice in the stadium goes on as planned.

We can all sleep more soundly, albeit more chilly with the power out, that football will still be played on Sunday. Thank God!

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