Outages oblige Texas to import Mexican power

Friday, October 10, 2014

Southwest Texas is suffering from rolling power outages that have forced the import of at least 50MW of electricity from Mexico to meet demand.

The rolling blackouts affected much of the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, and the electric reliability council of Texas (Ercot) instructed the area's transmission and distribution service providers to reduce demand in response to voltage concerns.

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At least 50MW had to be imported from Mexico to help stabilize the grid, Ercot spokesperson Robbie Searcy was quoted by local media as saying.

Ercot asked service providers such as AEP Texas to begin rotating power outages across the valley to avoid overloading generators and causing damage to the electric grid, and to avoid a region-wide outage.

The forced shutdown was due to lack of generation capacity in the valley, according to AEP Texas spokesman Frank Espinoza, as quoted by the local media.

He said wind farms in the northern part of the valley generate only a fraction of the region's electricity demand. The power outage included parts of Harlingen, San Benito, Edinburg and McAllen, affecting around 30,400 customers.