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Winter Weather Prompts Rolling Blackouts In Texas

February 2, 2011

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has instructed utilities to begin rotating outages to compensate for a generation shortage due to numerous plant trips that occurred because of the extreme weather.

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service, typically lasting 10-45 minutes per neighborhood.  The locations and durations are determined by the local utilities.  Critical need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes are generally not included.

It is not known at this time how long the need for rotating outages will last.

Consumers and businesses are urged to reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible, including these steps:

* Limit electricity usage to only that consumption which is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.

* Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

* Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

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