HOUSTON – Leaders with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) ended emergency protocols and ceased rotating outages Friday morning. ERCOT leaders said enough power plants came back online to bring stability to the state’s power grid. This is the first time ERCOT has been under normal operating procedures since the winter storm began hitting Texas over the weekend.
ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said if any customers are still without power it is due to a localized problem, such as a downed power line, that has yet to be repaired. With the crisis now passed, Magness said ERCOT is sending out Request for Information to all power generators who went offline during the storm. Magness said these RFI’s will help ERCOT gain a better understanding of exactly why 185 power plants tripped offline Sunday night and Monday morning.
Dan Woodfin, ERCOT senior director of system operations, said the state’s grid unexpectedly lost 40% of its power supply during the storm. Woodfin said much of this happened when natural gas plants went offline for a variety of reasons, including frozen wellheads preventing gas from being transported to the plants. The loss of supply forced ERCOT to ask providers, like CenterPoint Energy, to start cutting power to millions of Texans.
There will be a series of hearings next in the Texas House and Senate next to determine exactly what went wrong and what improvements to the overall system can be made. Magness also said there will be a separate investigation by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, NERC, into what caused this crisis. NERC does have regulatory authority over power producers.
This is a developing story and KPRC 2 will provide more details throughout the day.