Calling Bullshit : Perry, ERCOT and failure to keep Texans warm

Like all of you, I woke up to the news this AM that Texas would be enjoying rolling blackouts. Apparently, there’s some ‘problem’ at undisclosed generation stations.

Now, I think that sounds just a wee bit fishy, especially since this came out from Governor Perry’s office…

Gov. Rick Perry made the following statement about rolling power outages resulting from the winter weather system sweeping across the state:

“Because of winter weather conditions that have created an unprecedented demand on the state’s energy grid, many Texans across our state are experiencing power outages today,” Gov. Perry said. “Texas power and emergency management experts are working very closely with ERCOT and various utility providers to ensure power is restored as quickly as possible. Until that happens, I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Grid Operations has asked utilities/transmission providers to implement rolling outages to compensate for a generation shortage due to numerous power plant outages occurring as a result of the extreme weather. For more information from ERCOT, please call 512-225-7065 or visit

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) has issued the following information to customers:
• Rotating outages will be limited in duration to between 10-45 minutes, unless equipment trips due to a power surge during the restoration process.
• Customers can minimize the chance power surges will occur by turning off all but essential appliances, lights and other electrical equipment.
• Minimize unnecessary travel, as traffic signals may go out of service, resulting in traffic jams.

For more information from PUC, call 888-782-8477 or visit their website at

Additionally, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is using its enforcement discretion for all power generating facilities during this rolling outage period. Power generating facilities have authorized maximum emission limits, as well as authorized peaking units for dealing with high demand periods. Violations of these limits will be treated with enforcement discretion as power plants respond to the current power emergency brought on by this extremely cold weather. For additional information from TCEQ, please call 512-239-2526 or visit

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has also deployed resources to respond to this winter weather event. Maintenance crews are removing snow and ice in regions hardest hit by winter precipitation. TxDOT personnel will continue to spread anti-icing and de-icing materials on major highways, bridges and overpasses in 12-hour shifts until conditions improve. For additional information, please call 800-452-9292 or visit

The State Operations Center continues to work closely with the National Weather Service to monitor this winter weather system as it moves across Texas.

Now, factor in the most recent capacity report which showed the state with adequate generation capacity through 2014. Suddenly, because of weather conditions which we’ve known about for days, there is an issue? How many generators have been effected? Given our excess of capacity and the massive increase in wind generation, it’s gotta be one hell of an outage to cause us to have to suffer rolling blackouts. Such an outage could realistically only be intentional and I think we have a clue in that graf I bolded.

Anyone want to hazard a guess how much more the generators make when running dirty in a high demand environment without the risk of fines?

Think I’m crazy? Remember that CA’s problem in 2001 was caused by engineered capacity constraints, which created an artificial demand/ supply imbalance that enriched energy traders. Can anyone honestly look me in the eye and tell me my theory is crap?

Didn’t think so. No, it looks like Perry has found a very nice way to pay back campaign contributors without too many questions.

UPDATE – We’ve also received word that not long after Perry’s press release, ERCOT terminated rolling blackout activity in Houston metro. Wanna bet the generators suddenly jumped up capacity?

UPDATE TWO – Dewhurst says it’s all about a broken pipe (sure) and low gas pressure (whatev). That gas pressure one I find particularly funny since the compressors at the feed can be adjusted.

This entry was posted in Calling Bullshit, Energy, Stupid Republican Tricks, Texas and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.