I don't know if you noticed but this past Valentine's Day weekend there was this huge storm that dumped a pretty decent amount of snow (for El Paso) on the city. We were super lucky to not have seen the kind of rolling blackouts that the rest of Texas had to and is still suffering through. The reason for that is because El Paso Electric has spent the past ten years since our last huge freeze in 2011 upgrading and strengthening their infrastructure.

As a result of all that work, there were spotty outages of a few minutes here and there throughout El Paso, but there were no major outages lasting for hours or rolling blackouts to reduce the pressure on the power grid. The rest of the state is under ERCOT which stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas. It controls about 90% of the state’s electric load but El Paso Electric is not part of the Council or it's grid and that saved us during the storm. You can read more about ERCOT here.

Electricity power line in West Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Tuesday morning, Texas Gas sent out a press release saying that because of the forecasted below freezing temperatures for the rest of the week, "it will take all of us to avoid a large outage situation." So what does that mean? It's Texas Gas's way of letting you know that conservation will help reduce the chances of service disruption.

According to the release because of the weather more people are using natural gas to heat their homes and some of their suppliers are having to deal with freezing gas wells because of the cold weather which means they can't get as much gas to their outlets.

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While there might not be outages right now, Texas Gas says they are planning for shortages but need you to do things like lowering your thermostat by a few degrees, sealing leaks around doors and windows using blankets or towels, and closing blinds and curtains to help keep warm air in and not letting cold air in through your windows.

It's unlikely we'll be getting temperatures anymore during this storm that would threaten our natural gas flow but these are good tips to know when the next storm comes along.

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