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Officials declare state electrical emergency

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Officials with the state's power grid declared an electrical emergency and imposed a rolling blackout across the state in order to manage power demands.

In a voice recorded message to the media, Dottie Roark, spokeswoman for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said that the state had lost approximately 7,000 megawatts of generating capacity overnight.

ERCOT operates the grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state.

For now, ERCOT officials do not know when that power-generation capacity will be recovered, Roark said.

Overnight lows dipped to 11 degrees at 5:53 a.m. and stayed there for nearly four hours, according to National Weather Service data reported at Denton Municipal Airport.

Rolling blackouts began in Denton County between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., with Oncor, CoServ and Denton Municipal Electric officials all releasing statements to expect 15 to 30 minute periods without power throughout the day.

Outages lasting much longer than that may indicate another power problem, said Kat Gloria, spokeswoman for CoServ.

Some neighborhoods could be without power for as long as 45 minutes, depending on the provider.

The length and frequency of the blackouts are at the discretion of the local electric company, Roark said in a prepared statement, adding that those planned outages prevent uncontrolled shutdowns that could trigger regional outages.

Customers should turn off appliances, lights, electronics and other equipment to prevent damaging power surges when power comes back on.

Residents are encouraged to lower their thermostats to 68 degrees and avoid using major appliances during peak demand hours - 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. - in order to help conserve electricity.

Businesses are encouraged to minimize their usage as much as possible. Officials encouraged large businesses to shut down non-essential services in order to conserve electricity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is