Lubbock sees rolling outages due to winter weather

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock Power & Light said Monday evening no more rolling outages were expected, hours after instructing customers to prepare for outages due to the extreme cold weather. 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid also initiated rolling blackouts Monday morning, but as of Monday evening they said they also don’t expect further rolling outages. 

But much of the state was still experiencing power outages or rolling blackouts, with 2.6 million without power across the state as of Monday evening.  

“[It] has really shown itself to be one of the most damaging storms,” said Lubbock Power and Light Spokesperson, Matt Rose.  

For LP&L, Monday was the first time ever they were forced to manually outage customers due to winter weather and some of the lowest temperatures Lubbock’s seen over 3 decades. 

“Last night we far exceeded our record, or a winter-peak load,” said Rose. “So when you get to a point in time where you have to take strategic outages in order to avoid that it’s necessary if not comfortable nobody wants to get to that point but that’s where you find yourself when you have a storm of this nature.”

These rolling outages are done to prevent the worst. 

“So that you don’t have the larger issue which are cascading blackouts which can affect huge regions, blackout huge regions and are very very complicated and difficult to fix,” said Rose. 

Lubbock is currently connected to a power grid running all the way from Texas to Canada but plans to switch to Texas’s ERCOT grid in June.

The ERCOT grid was also forced to have rolling outages, Monday, due to demand in the rest of the state. 

“It has to do with supply and demand,” said Lynn Simmons, Director of Communications for the South Plain Electric Cooperative. “It’s just — to keep any home or business warm enough in the colder temperatures, it has to run longer.”

But LP&L and SPEC are asking customers to cut back on their energy usage to help reduce future interruptions.

“There has to be a constant flow of electrons on that wire or the system becomes unstable,” said Simmons. 

For now, until the winter weather passes, more outages are possible. 

“We hope this is a once in a century event that you have to do something like this but right now until we get through Tuesday or Wednesday we are just going to wait and prepare,” said Rose. 

While both SPEC and LP&L are not expecting more outages, they are still asking customers to continue conserving energy.

A few simple ways folks can do that and prevent these outages is by lowering your thermostats to at least 68 degrees, avoid using large appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, and turn off unnecessary lights.

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