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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Rolling blackouts cause elevator rescues and angers member of Congress

The Texas rolling blackouts have been my guest bloggers today. As you can tell, they are not very reliable and show up when you least expect them.

It started for me at 6am and lasted through around noon. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says the blackouts lasted 10 to 45 minutes for most and, "The locations and durations are determined by the local utilities. Critical need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes are generally not included." In that case I'm curious if River Oaks was affected.

ERCOT has issued a notice that rotating outages are no longer needed at this time; however, there is a strong possibility that they will be required again Thursday, depending on how quickly the disabled generation units can be returned to service.

The Houston Fire Department emailed me that it responded to 30 elevator rescues Wednesday. Most are believed to have been caused by the power outages. Just to put it into perspective, HFD says it normally responds to two to three elevator rescue calls on an average day.

You caught a glimpse of her last week on the State of the Union broadcasts before President Obama took the stage, and now Congresswoman Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) is shocked over the rolling outages.

The Congresswoman's press people sent me the following statement:

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas should have thought of better procedures for instituting these blackouts, which have affected the lives of Texas families, their children, and the elderly. I call on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to immediately implement a safer, reliable, and more efficient way of effectuating the outages throughout the state. At some point today, the Houston area had more than 300,000 households without electricity. This mistake by ERCOT is deplorable. In many cases, our school children in Houston have been dismissed from school for the lack of electrical power, forcing their parents to leave their jobs to care for their children. ERCOT failed to relay any information about the blackouts to the public, leaving school districts and parents without ample time to react."

Next time this happens here is what ERCOT wants you to do:

- 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. COMMENT: Click to leave your thoughts on this post here