As you are aware, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued multiple levels of Energy Emergency Alerts during February 2021’s winter weather event. At some stages of this alert, rotating outages were in effect.
We understand rotating outages (brownouts) are frustrating and create challenges. This is as true for Cooperative employees as it is for you, as well as every home and business across the majority of Texas. The fact is we have no choice but to comply with ERCOT mandates, which are necessary to avoid a complete blackout of the Texas grid where no power will be available to anyone. Naturally, you have questions. To help, we are sharing some answers to the most common comments and questions we’ve received:
AM I EXPERIENCING A SERVICE OUTAGE OR A ROTATING OUTAGE? SHOULD I REPORT IT?
Rotating outages occurring due to ERCOT’s mandate DO NOT need to be reported. Mandated rotating outages from ERCOT will last approximately 15-45 minutes. If you’re still out of power after 1 hour, please report your outage via the SmartHub app, call 800.223.4832 or use TextPower by texting OUT to 800.223.4832.
WHY HAVE I EXPERIENCED ROTATING OUTAGES, BUT MY FRIEND OR NEIGHBOR HAS NOT?
EEA System Conditions and Alerts are extremely complex. However, the most simplistic explanation is GVEC is required to classify 25% of our existing load into a category that will NOT be used in initial load shedding efforts. This means the remaining 75% of our load has to make up all load shed requirements during an EEA event.
Why would your friend be in this 25% portion of load and you would not? The circuits placed in this category feed critical services such as hospitals, nursing homes, gas plants that supply integral power plants and more. Your friend more than likely lives in a home serviced by one of these circuits. These specific circuits are utilized only if necessary, in final attempts to prevent a wide-spread blackout of electricity, which could take days up to weeks to restore.
I GET AN ERROR WHEN I TEXT OUT TO 800.223.4832.
If you’ve attempted to report an outage through TextPower, and were unsuccessful, please understand you must text from a phone number listed on your GVEC account. If the number you’re texting from is not listed, use the SmartHub app, or call 800.223.4832. Please be prepared for longer-than-normal hold times, as our phone lines are extremely busy or you have the option to report via our automated phone system which will save you hold time.
WHY IS MY ELECTRICITY COMING ON FOR A FEW MINUTES, THEN GOING BACK OFF FOR FEW MINUTES? IS THIS PART OF ROTATING OUTAGES?
We are aware some members may experience frequent power cycling (power is on and off for a few minutes each), this can result from a multitude of challenges stressing the system. Just one scenario could be power being restored through a repair made in one area, but other damage needing to be located on a different part of the line. Our system’s self-healing properties are searching for a way to restore power to you ASAP, and can result in these cycles of power while linemen and engineering teams work to isolate the location of the damage and make repairs.
I HAVEN’T GOTTEN A RESPONSE YET TO MY SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENT.
In these situations, our social media pages can become very busy, and threads can be difficult to follow. While our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are the best place to stay updated on current information, you may experience a delay for responses to your questions here. We hope this FAQ post can help get you the answer you’re looking for.
WHEN WILL ROTATING OUTAGES BE OVER?
Rotating outages will continue until ERCOT lifts its mandate. That will happen when generation reserves exceed the demand for electricity and the grid is once again stable. Predictive models can help us estimate timing, however that could change at a moment’s notice due to unexpected generation failures and/or weather conditions. You can have confidence as soon as GVEC receives notice, rotating outages will be discontinued immediately.
I’M EXPERIENCING AN EXTENDED OUTAGE. WHEN WILL MY POWER BE RESTORED?
We understand the importance of electricity any time, but especially in frigid conditions. GVEC’s challenges during these times range from travel conditions, crew and contractor availability, major equipment failures, downed lines, etc. Exact restoration times aren’t possible as we navigate the many hurdles, but you can rest assured our goal is to restore as many members as possible as quickly as it is safe to do so for our crews.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
Of course its tough to hear this in the current situation, but we can collectively make the biggest impact by conserving as much energy as possible, especially during the hours of 5am-9am and 4pm-9pm daily. Here are our top recommended tips.
Our entire GVEC team is working around the clock for you. We appreciate your patience and continued support!
FOLLOW GVEC ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Following GVEC on social media can help keep you informed of any EEAs or brownout mandates issued by ERCOT as well as extended outage updates. Stay in-the-know by following us on Facebook (@GVECsocial), Twitter (@GVEC_Tweets), Instagram (@GVEC_INSTA).