Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service typically up to 60 minutes per area. Critical need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes are generally not included. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) requires rotating outages to balance the supply and demand for electricity and prevent a lengthy statewide blackout.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 26 million Texas customers – representing 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 680+ generation units. It is responsible for balancing all customer demand and power. BPUB is a member of ERCOT and is therefore subject to ERCOT requirements. Click here to learn more about ERCOT.
ERCOT issues Energy Emergency Alerts (EEA) to maintain the Texas electrical grid. EEA1 indicates that electrical conservation is needed. EEA2 warns that the need for electrical conservation is critical and needed right away. When EEA1 and EEA2 are insufficient, EEA3, or rotating outages, are required to help preserve the system’s reliability as a whole. Visit the ERCOT website to learn more about Energy Emergency Alerts.
During rotating outages, customers typically experience an electric outage for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. The rotating outages continue until available generation balances with the electricity demand.
No, when ERCOT asks for rotating outages, they are typical across the state.
Typically, there is little or no advance notice. Since these events are never scheduled and result from emergencies, there is a small window of time for notifications. BPUB gives as much information as possible as it becomes available. Customers should conserve energy and reduce their usage to help lessen the severity of the electric supply shortage during these times.
BPUB’s Energy Control Center makes decisions on which customers will get impacted by a rotating outage based on the electricity demands within the system. About one-third of the available circuits are used by critical care customers like hospitals, police stations and fire departments. BPUB makes every attempt not to turn off power to these customers. Another third of circuits are low-frequency feeders, which are necessary to provide the state a final safety net should a quick drop of electricity be necessary. That leaves only about a third of BPUB customers, typically residential neighborhoods and small businesses, that would be available for rotating.