Rolling blackouts occurring across the RGV - Brownsville Herald: News

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Rolling blackouts occurring across the RGV

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Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 5:45 pm

Parts of the Rio Grande Valley lost electrical power late Wednesday when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas ordered a "load shift."

The Brownsville Public Utilities Board said that ERCOT has issued a transmission emergency for the Valley. BPUB along with the other Rio Valley utilities has been instructed to shed electric load.

To ensure the safety of the electric service grid, BPUB has been asked to shed 26 megawatts MW. About 100-150 BPUB customers represent about 1 MW of usage.

PUB says the rolling blackouts will last about 30 minutes and affect many customers. The utility says there is not a problem with BPUB’s equipment.

AEP Texas spokesman Frank Espinoza said ERCOT mandated the shutdown due to "lack of generation capacity" in the Valley.

He said the Valley does not generate enough of its own electricity, so when the "load shift" was ordered, AEP was forced to comply by shutting down some of its service area.

The power outage included parts of Harlingen, San Benito and McAllen.

Espinoza said the wind farms north of the Valley generate only a fraction of the region's electrical needs.

Espinoza did not know when power would be restored.

A spokesman for BPUB said the transmission emergency issued late Wednesday afternoon for the Rio Grande Valley by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas was due to a “North Edinburg unit that has tripped offline.”

Ryan Greenfeld of BPUB said it could refer to a power plant or transmission line and didn’t have more specific information. He said the resulting rolling power outages would continue until the problem was corrected. Greenfeld conceded the situation was unusual.

“I know they’re very conservative in making these kind of calls,” he said.

Greenfeld strongly advised all BPUB customers and other electrical customers in the valley to use as little power as possible to relieve stress on the grid until the problem is solved.

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