Statement from Rep. Phil King Regarding Power Outages

February 2, 2011

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The following statement may be attributed to Representative Phil King regarding power outages:

“Several years ago the state designed a system for rolling blackouts when electricity demand reached critical levels. The idea was to prevent any one area of the state from having an extended period without electricity by simply rolling the blackout neighborhood to neighborhood. This appears to have worked very well. The question is, why was it necessary? And will it occur again tonight?

The answer to the first question is, we’re not sure yet. Over the next couple of weeks the Public Utility Commission and ERCOT will conduct a post-mortem to determine if the blackouts were due to a systems failure or if this was simply the equivalent of our “five hundred year flood”. My guess is we’ll find it was a little bit of both. We’ll find some problems in the system, which we will correct. We’ll also find that it was the result of an historic cold front, which was difficult to ever fully prepare for.

What’s next? Conservation is the key. You’d be amazed at how much it will help if every home simply lowers their thermostat, turns off unnecessary appliances, outside lights, etc. Even just lowering residential demand 3 or 4% is a tremendous benefit when we’re bumping peak electric capacity. I expect that there will be some additional problems tonight or early tomorrow, but hopefully not as widespread.

I will keep you posted as I get new information.”