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'keep conserving energy' local utility officials share as power is restored

Posted at 7:15 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 22:00:07-05

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — The power is back on... kinda.

It's been a very tough week for Texans, it started with a deadly 100+ car pileup outside of Fort Worth, followed by chilling temperatures and days of widespread outages felt statewide, but there is a light gleaming at the end of this very dark week.

Both College Station Utilities and Bryan Texas Utilities took to Facebook to spread the good news Thursday.

"I think it was about midnight last night... ERCOT stopped the rolling outages because they were able to get enough generation online and load had dropped enough that it was no longer necessary," Timothy Crabb, Director of Electric Utility of College Station said.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also known as ERCOT, manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers, so when they say they have made some 'significant progress overnight'... you feel it.

"As far as Bryan Texas Utilities is concerned, we have 4 generating units they have been online the whole time this has occurred and they continue to be online. So we are in pretty good shape. Except, you are connected into the entire ERCOT grid, so we will continue to watch what's going on in the greater area of Texas with ERCOT," David Werley, Executive of Business and Customer Operations for Bryan Texas Utilities said.

The good news, the lights are on for the most part. The bad news...? Both College Station Utilities and Bryan Texas Utilities say, we still remain in the energy emergency level 3 status, and rolling outages could still occur.

"If the load goes up too much, then later on today and tonight, they might have to start rolling outages again. So, we are asking all customers, even though the power is back on, to keep conserving energy as much as possible because we don't want to go back to rolling outages," Crabb added.

David Werley with Bryan Texas Utilities says the number one mission for electric utilities is to be reliable and to keep the power on, and this situation is far from ideal.

"Believe me, it hurts us when we have to go into any kind of rolling outages as we have, but this really is an unprecedented storm for Texas. You can make your plans and get ready for this type of weather at power plants as far as insulating pipes and being ready, but you don't really know exactly if you are really ready until you are tested," Werley added.

Werley says, in this particular instance this is a supply and demand issue. With many power plants down, the demand has gotten high because of the heating needs in the ERCOT region, which represents about 90 percent of the State's electric load.