Monday, April 17, 2006

Austin hits triple digits today, rolling blackouts

Yup, it's only mid April and it already got up to 100 today. Hot hot hot. I've been planting for 3 days in the scorching sunny heat, sweating till the sunscreen turns my skin white.

But on the bright side, the power went off at work today around 4:30pm, so I got to go home an hour early. :)

And from KVUE news,

Parts of Austin experienced power outages Monday afternoon due to rolling blackouts.

Austin Energy told KVUE News the rolling blackouts were put in place because of a very high demand for electricity.

The state's power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), released a statement and called it an emergency situation.

Officials say there was not enough power generation to serve the demand, thanks to unseasonably hot temperatures and power plants out for maintenance. Blackouts were ordered for areas across Texas.

Temperatures reached record highs for the second day in a row in Central Texas. The temperature at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) reached 100 degrees by 5 p.m. The previous record, set in 1987, was 90 degrees. Temperatures across Central Texas were in the upper 90s and low 100s.

Temperatures were expected to reach record highs again on Tuesday.

Last month, energy usage was up six percent compared to March last year. So far in April, energy use is up 16 percent compared to last year.

Customers have been asked to reduce their usage of power to the lowest level possible, including:

-- Setting thermostats at 78 degrees or higher.

-- Not using use any electric lighting, appliances or equipment unless absolutely necessary for health or safety.

-- Not opening refrigerators and freezers more than necessary.

ERCOT officials said they were working to return operations to normal.

Austin Energy officials said they hoped the blackouts would end by 6 p.m. Monday.


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