Oncor Announces Planned Power Outages Across Texas

New from Oncor 9:00AM

Jeamy Molina- Spokesperson for Oncor

In response to the outages:

"They are not rolling blackouts but more referred to as load shedding. We Carefully select feeders (lines that run into neighborhoods) to shut off. These are not randomly chosen. This is through the entire ERCOT system.

Oncor coverers 1/3 of the state. Oncor serves as many as seven (7)million customers.

No critical care customers, hospitals, or first responders will be selected.

Subject: TX: Rolling power outages

Oncor operates the largest distribution and transmission system in Texas, delivering power to approximately 3 million homes and businesses and operating approximately 117,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines in Texas.

According to Oncor Facebook page:

Because of record power demand in record cold weather, Oncor is using rolling blackouts to balance electric load with power generation capacity. Most of the planned power outages last for 5-15 minutes.

Oncor is reducing load by shutting power off to sections of its system. This is procedure during highest emergency level. These are planned outages. They will happen every 15 minutes and are designed to protect states grid during periods of instability. Power Outages: 1.888.313.4747 (24 hours, seven days a week)

It's likely you will lose electric power more than once today for between 5 and 15 minutes.

It's not just Oncor and it's not just here. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, (ERCOT) has ordered ALL electric utilities in the state to shed some of the electrical load. The planned outages may have to continue tonight and tomorrow as we don't see much improvement in temperatures, although it's possible the utilities might be able to buy more generating capacity from western states that have not been affected by this cold weather.

It's a combination of intense cold which is not only creating record electric usage for this time of year, but it can also slow the flow of natural gas that powers many of the generating plants throughout the state. Natural gas has water vapor in it, and even though power plants get an extra-refined supply of natural gas, in these bitter cold temperatures, even a minuscule amount of water vapor can compromise the flow of gas through the regulators.

The Oncor hotline says the company is rotating power outages to reduce the power load.

The utility serves 7 million customers in Texas. Oncor spokesperson Jaeamy Molina says the structured outages began around 6 a.m. Wednesday, at 15-minute intervals. She says the planned outages are not considered blackouts.

Molina told The Associated Press that the Dallas-based utility is complying with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of Texas.

Molina had no time frame for when the outages would end, after Tuesday's storm that shut down schools across North Texas, dumped snow in the Panhandle and West Texas and iced runways at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Newschannel 6 crews have seen several areas in town in the dark. These outages have been brief, in most cases about 15 minutes.

We're getting multiple calls from viewers saying their power outages has been thirty minutes. Clay County fire dispatch is telling units to expect outages of 15 minutes to one hour.

Consumers and businesses are urged to reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible, including these steps:

*       Limit electricity usage to only that consumption which is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.

*       Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

*       Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

See more conservation tips at "Powerful Advice," Public Utility Commission of Texas:

Newschannel 6 will meet Mike Nieto with Oncor to discuss the latest Texoma Outages. See the interview tonight only on Newschannel 6 First at Five.