Much of Walker County, Texas, has lost their power as of Monday afternoon. The outages are due to “rolling blackouts” implemented by the Sam Houston Electric Cooperative (SHEC), where power for certain areas is rotated on and off when the grid is unable to handle the high demand.
SHEC released a statement on Monday anticipating the outages:
“As demand for electricity in Texas continues at record levels, power generation facilities are working hard to produce the power needed. Currently ERCOT (the grid that serves most of Texas) and MISO, which serves most of Sam Houston EC’s area, have both initiated rolling blackouts. MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) determines the amount of load Sam Houston EC must “shed” at any given time.”
According to SHEC, these blackouts are typically supposed to last for approximately an hour. However, an update posted at 6:30 PM anticipated that outages could continue for several hours.
Demand is extremely high, and the cooperative has been instructed by MISO to reduce the load in the upper part of its territory.
The issue is being compounded by icy conditions and inclement weather. “In addition to the required rolling blackouts, some outages have been caused by ice and snow,” the SHEC statement read. “Co-op crews are out there working to restore power. They are, however, having to travel slowly due to icy road conditions.”
Restoring power to an area is incremental, and will be done in sections to reduce stress on the grid.
SHEC urges residents to report outages due to damage caused by the winter storm to 888-444-1207. A map detailing the current status of outages can be found here.