Entergy, the power company that supplies electricity to the suburban areas of Houston including The Woodlands, said Thursday afternoon that it has started periodic power outages to its customers in Texas.
Entergy said it was directed to launch the power outages by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator as a last resort to prevent a more extensive and prolonged power outage that could damage the reliability of the power grid that stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The unusual circumstances reflect the extensive damage to Entergy’s transmission system caused by Hurricane Laura along the Texas and Louisiana border and expected high demand for electricity.
The outages don’t affect most Texans, who are served by the power grid managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT serves about 90 percent of the state.
It is not clear how many Entergy customers are affected by its grid operator’s orderd. About 223,000 of Entergy’s 461,000 customers in Texas were without power Thursday afternoon, according to the company’s website.
Entergy is also asking customers in the western service area north of Houston to voluntarily reduce their electricity use by raising their air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees, closing window blinds and delaying laundry and bathing until later in the evening or early morning to reduce humidity which makes air conditioners work harder.
L.M. Sixel writes about the economy and the workplace for the Houston Chronicle. She writes a weekly column called « Working » that appears each Thursday.
She started her newspaper career at the Beaumont Enterprise. Before that, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s degree in economic history from the London School of Economics.
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