LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock is expecting a drastic drop in temperatures by Thursday as an Arctic cold front makes its way into the South Plains. The upcoming winter storm serves as a looming reminder of the deadly storm Uri from February 2021.
“In the days leading up to winter storm Uri, one of the things that ERCOT got called out on at that point in time was not adequately planning for the large storm that was predicted. That’s not the process today,” said Matt Rose, Spokesperson for Lubbock Power and Light.
ERCOT said the state is equipped to handle the high demand, adding that there is less to worry about with this storm compared to winter storm Uri because ERCOT has been working on winterizing the grid.
“They’ve started this inspection program where they have a standard, they go out to the power plants, they look at them, they make sure they have just some basic wrapping pipes and windbreaks to make sure the northern wind isn’t blowing directly on its equipment, so they are doing that and I think that is a big change,” said Doug Lewin, President of Stoic Energy.
One of the benefits of this storm is there is no expected ice and snow, and temperatures are still expected to be warmer than last year’s deadly storm.
“If it’s single digits in Dallas-Ft. Worth and it’s in the teens in Houston and South Texas, there’s very little chance there wouldn’t be rolling outages in those sorts of conditions. It’s just too much demand for the amount of power that we have,” Lewin said. “But from what I’ve looked at yesterday and today, it’s looking like [it will be] 8 to 10 degrees warmer.”
There could still be situations outside of the Grid’s control as wind gusts are expected to be more than 30 miles an hour.
“All of our forces are going to be out there in the field. If we have any sort of winter weather that comes through that knocks a tree into a power line or if a car slides off the road and hits a pole, we want to make sure that we minimize the impact of that and get folks turned on as quickly as possible,” said Rose.
Lubbock Power and Light said they are ready for the increase in demand,
As ERCOT is using a new group of generators that are able to power up quickly during rapid changing weather along with more fuel for generators in case natural gas providers run short.
“What they’re also going to see is that all of the resources that we have here in Lubbock are going to be staged and ready, should we have a very, very cold snap,” said Rose.
Right now, LP&L said you can start voluntary changes to save some energy ahead of the cold.
“We’re now going to go through a step-by-step process to make sure that we maintain the reliability of the grid, and it is making sure that you’re monitoring your electric usage on big appliances during peak times during the day and making little switches on your end,” said Rose.