AUSTIN, Texas - The big thaw that continued Friday also reduced the demand for electricity drawn from power lines. As a result, around 10:30 Friday during a media briefing ERCOT managers announced the need for rotating outages was over.
"We just got the notice from our control room that we have left the last stage of emergency operations. So we are completely back to normal operations," said ERCOT CEO Bill Magness.
An ERCOT power tracking graphic showed by mid-morning generation was outpacing demand. But with several outages remaining across Texas, ERCOT officials said local utility providers should be contacted. Meanwhile, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said he's expecting more calls for change.
"We, Texas, can’t afford to have this happen again, and there are a lot of ideas about how to make that different, and we want to participate in the process of considering those ideas. And if there are things we can do better, we want to hear about it, because we don’t want an event to occur like this either. But we also have to be in mind you have to protect from that worst blackout," said Magness.
Magness went on to defend control room operators for how they reacted to the crisis Monday. FOX 7 Austin also learned that several dams operated by LCRA played a role in keeping the grid from collapsing.
Mansfield Dam and Buchanan Dam were pressed into service. According to a statement from LCRA, hydro-generation units were used "intermittently" to support the grid. Those living along Lake Austin and Inks Lake were warned water levels could briefly rise. It was a risk that got power faster to people like Muneer Mohammad.
"We need to keep our kids warm and feed them because everything is on electricity, that’s the only choice we have," said Mohammad who added they were just trying to do their best.
Mohammad’s family drove to Mansfield Dam Friday afternoon not to see power generation. They were there filling up containers with river water because even though their lights are on, there's no water at home, a continuing crisis that brought somewhat of an apology from ERCOT.
"We share the sadness and grief that came to our state with this event, certainly the electric outages were a huge part even before that we were seeing wrecks on the highways with ice, or having water system issues certainly, it's just been a very difficult period for the state. And I think as far as should ERCOT pay, I guess what I say to you is, we are going to continue to try to explain the event, what we saw, what we did, the actions we took - we're subject to policymakers and leaders and how they want us to operate and if they're seeing something really has got to change from looking at the totality of what we did, we will certainly try to change it or take any other action we are told to do," said Magness.
Hearings at the Texas Capital are set for the 25th.