Hot Weather Causes Blackouts

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4-17-06 - Unseasonably hot temperatures forced power utilities around Texas to conduct rolling blackouts for several hours today.
As temperatures climbed into the upper 90s and above 100 for
another day, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which runs
Texas' electricity grid, declared an emergency situation. It
ordered the blackouts because of the lack of electricity around the
state.
An ERCOT spokesman says as much as 15 percent of the state's
power supply was already off-line for seasonal maintenance to brace
for the summer's energy usage peaks. Four power generating plants
shut down unexpectedly.
Spokesman Paul Wattles says the company will never know for sure
whether that shutdown made the difference between having a blackout
and business as usual.
By early this evening, ERCOT said the blackouts had ended and
operations returned to normal.
The energy shortage was compounded by plants undergoing planned
outages for maintenance.
The rollouts were limited to the ERCOT grid, which provides
electricity to about 80 percent of Texas.


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