Controlled outages a necessary evil

If there is a silver lining to dark and brooding clouds of rolling blackouts amid bone-chilling temperatures and a dangerous snowstorm, it’s that those blackouts are protecting Texas from a larger calamity.

By

Opinion

February 18, 2021 - 9:35 AM

If there is a silver lining to dark and brooding clouds of rolling blackouts amid bone-chilling temperatures and a dangerous snowstorm, it’s that those blackouts are protecting Texas from a larger calamity.

No one likes the blackouts, least of all us. The state is facing a disruptive and potentially dangerous situation as millions experience outages of varying lengths. People are stuck at home without heat and with nowhere to go during a pandemic. Businesses are closed and people who normally can work from home are grappling with power and internet outages.

But rolling outages are built into our system as a fail-safe during extreme weather to avoid cascading blackouts. When the entire grid goes down, it can take weeks to restore power to everyone. We can — and will — debate the strength of this system after this crisis, but controlled outages are easier for power companies to deal with, which is why they are part of the playbook during an emergency.

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