Texas warns of blackouts as arctic air freezes central US
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Texas warns of blackouts as arctic air freezes central US

The Texas grid operator warned of potential blackouts, loosening the financial obligations of energy traders as Arctic Air covered Central America and boosted record demand for electricity.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas on Sunday asked consumers to conserve “as much as possible” by Tuesday as it combats the insurmountable conditions that shut down the power supply. The state’s utilities regulator repeated the message, implicating businesses to turn off the lights and equipment as much as possible.

According to the forecast, a frictional air mass moving south from Canada would send temperatures up to 4F (minus 15.5C) in Dallas. TexasThe largest US oil and gas producer is also the nation’s top electricity consumer. Buildings that heat with natural gas compete for supplies from gas-burning power plants.

Wholesale electricity prices for next-day delivery exceeded $ 7,000 per megawatt-hour on Sunday, which is higher than the average price of $ 25 / MWh on the Texas grid.

Ercott’s senior director of system operations Dan Woodfin said power demand during the summer of 2019 was likely to surpass the record of 74,820MW. He urged Texas to close the thermostats, windows and unplug devices to save energy.

“We could be in emergency operations as of tonight. We would expect to be in emergency operations at least on Tuesday morning,” he said.

If demand exceeds supply, the grid operator can order utilities to initiate a “rotating outage” that lasts about 15 to 30 minutes in each neighborhood, he said.

Workers cleaned a crossroads after snow and ice blankets in the US on Sunday

cold spell Texas’ freewheeling power model will be tested. Generators are paid only for the energy they sell, not for the ability to reserve for times of stress. Electricity retailers competed fiercely for customer business, unlike utility monopolies that operate in some other states.

The possibility of raising electricity bills suggested some retailers that customers trade elsewhere. “If forecasts and prices are too high for you right now, we understand if you want to switch providers,” said Website Griddy Energy, an electricity retailer operating in Texas.

Grid in december Announced An investment from Macquarie, an Australian bank with a large energy trading arm, and a new management team that will focus on “solutions to combat price volatility”.

AP Gas & Electric, another retailer, emailed customers with tips for preservation, titled “Stop the Blackout.” Reduce your usage now! ”

Days of stratospheric electricity prices threatened to increase the ability of bulk buyers to pay for their purchases, a process overseen by Ercott. Over the weekend, the grid operator adjusted the way in which the goodwill money needed for backstop trades was calculated.

“For the duration of the change, it reduces the collateral requirements for our market participants,” said Kenk Ogelman, Ascott’s vice president of commercial operations, “so they can stay in the market.”

Ercott said the supply of natural gas at some gas plants has been “limited”. Analysts said freezing temperatures had reduced the flow of gas from the wells and helped to send spot prices to more than $ 100 million British thermal units, down to $ 3, by collecting pipelines.

Gas price increases from Chicago to California, where grid operators are Told Generators They can update energy bids for “high high cost” fuel costs.

Texas power supply was too tight because wind turbines Woodfin said it was frozen by snow, with a capacity of about 12,000 megawatts on Sunday morning.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for March delivery rose $ 1.17 to $ 60.64 a barrel, as oil prices rose. Over $ 60 For the first time in more than a year.

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