Texas residents narrowly missed a level 3 emergency on Monday January 6, following the trip off of two giant power plants in the northern section of the state. The grid is managed by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which has in place a three level emergency plan.
The grid experienced a high demand for electricity as a result of the extremely cold weather. This was part of the reason that lead to the power plants tripping off. Level one of the emergency plan was ordered by ERCOT at 6:52 am, with level 2 following only nine minutes later as the power reserves dipped below 1,750 megawatts. If the situation had spiraled to level three, it would have meant that the council would have to rotate power outages to keep the grid functioning.
Changes made by ERCOT and owners of power plants to protect the units from cold weather after the 2011 storm impacted greatly on the outcome of this situation.