Rolling black outs possible NTX

gocubs418

Well-known member
May 3, 2016
385
Dallas/TX
I thought I was done for with the 1hr 45 min blackout, but it prevailed. Had 30 minutes on afterwards, then off for 35. The battle continues.
 

HGalindo

Member
Apr 16, 2020
18
Dallas, TX
It might be. Where is the equipment in regards to the water line ? If you equipment is below the waterline you will siphon water from the pool until the two are equal.
It's stabilized at the bottom of the tile, so I think we're okay. :/ It's a little downhill from the pool, so I think that's what happened.
 
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HGalindo

Member
Apr 16, 2020
18
Dallas, TX
I thought I was done for with the 1hr 45 min blackout, but it prevailed. Had 30 minutes on afterwards, then off for 35. The battle continues.
Yeah, we ended up being off for 5.5 hours. Pretty sure we would have been bursting at the seams by the end of that if I hadn't bitten the bullet. I hope your outages continue to be rolling vs. the dead stop we seem to have had.
 

skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
400
Long Island, NY
We have a 17kW Generac natural gas generator, but I have actually never used it beyond firing it up every other month to make sure it starts. I am not even sure it will run pool pumps if I am also drawing power into house for refrigerator, lights, etc. I'd also be hesitant to run it all night, just because I worry about things going bump in the night and causing disasters.

My Honda is only 7k and runs the whole house and the pool, with the exception of the 4-ton HVAC unit. Maximum wattage draw I saw over the 3 days I used it was around 3500 watts.
 

gnatty8

Member
Jun 18, 2020
7
Houston
My Honda is only 7k and runs the whole house and the pool, with the exception of the 4-ton HVAC unit. Maximum wattage draw I saw over the 3 days I used it was around 3500 watts.

That is encouraging but then leaves me in position of running a natural gas generator all night. Not a cost issue, as I am sure it would be minimal compared to potential pool damage, but I just don't think those things are meant to be operated unattended? Maybe I am just being paranoid.
 

skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
400
Long Island, NY
That is encouraging but then leaves me in position of running a natural gas generator all night. Not a cost issue, as I am sure it would be minimal compared to potential pool damage, but I just don't think those things are meant to be operated unattended? Maybe I am just being paranoid.

I think most air cooled generators aren't meant to be run continuously since they're running at 3600 rpm. My neighbor had a 22kw Generac air cooled model installed and his ran the whole 3 days without issue. My Honda runs at 2400rpm in eco mode and didn't have any issues either, though I did shut it down and change the oil after the first 20 hours since it was new. The manual says to change the oil every 100 hours after that.

If I were to get a whole house unit that could safely and reliably run for weeks at a time, I'd probably get a liquid cooled 1800 rpm model like the Cummins RS25:

Video of one of these installed and running:
 

JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
2,287
Prosper, TX (DFW)
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Ugh, they just said that all of the wind farms except for 1 on the SE coast of the state are shut down due to being frozen over. Wind generated power makes up 25% of the Texas grid. This is not going to be good.

We had points last night where the power would come on for 20 minutes, then back off for 45min to an hour. That is just enough for the heater to tease you with some warmth, then it goes out again.

Equally frustrating is the inequality in which they are picking and choosing who gets hit. Our neighborhood is nice, but there is a really nice section with a lot of athletes, doctors, etc. They havent been impacted at all.
 

gnatty8

Member
Jun 18, 2020
7
Houston
Ugh, they just said that all of the wind farms except for 1 on the SE coast of the state are shut down due to being frozen over. Wind generated power makes up 25% of the Texas grid. This is not going to be good.

We had points last night where the power would come on for 20 minutes, then back off for 45min to an hour. That is just enough for the heater to tease you with some warmth, then it goes out again.

Equally frustrating is the inequality in which they are picking and choosing who gets hit. Our neighborhood is nice, but there is a really nice section with a lot of athletes, doctors, etc. They havent been impacted at all.

Sometimes luck of the draw. If they are on a circuit with essential services (i.e. hospitals) those will always be last to cut in rolling outages.
 
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JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
2,287
Prosper, TX (DFW)
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Sometimes luck of the draw. If they are on a circuit with essential services (i.e. hospitals) those will always be last to cut in rolling outages.
Unless Lowes, Taco Bueno, and a couple of other small retail shops are considered essential, they are not near anything essential.

Our section has a neighborhood elementary, so that may be part of it since the school is currently vacant, but it sure seems like they should spread the pain out better, even if the beautiful people in the other section of the hood get their feathers ruffled.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,683
Longview, Texas
Good luck! Hopefully our pools will survive this without too much problem.
It was -2F here yesterday morning, more icing on the pool but the freezing didnt progress thanks too the bright sunshine we had yesterday. All still OK. I think if I survived Monday night, all will be fine. I'm not gonna worry about it anymore.

My Pool is about 80-90% covered by ice - except where my returns are hitting the surfaces. So far I am surviving, pump equipment tarped and space heater running 24/7. Water temp is 33, Air Temp is 1. Every hour or two i dump a bucket of hot water in the skimmer to make sure no ice accum in there. I have a plaster pool so I am breaking up the ice where I can. I need to make it about 24 hours before we get some sunshine relief.
 
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JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
2,287
Prosper, TX (DFW)
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Everyone still doing okay? Our blackouts are getting a bit better and having longer times with power. We almost are up to long enough to run the dishwasher.

1613616130665.png
 
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fagin007

Member
Aug 2, 2020
23
Dallas, Texas
You are lucky I have had over 30 rolling black outs in the last three days but they havent lasted over 30 minutes so the pool is still running and with the temps rising my ice blocks are less than what they were. I will be happy to get up to 32 degrees tomorrow so I can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
 

skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
400
Long Island, NY
I've been watching the news about what has been happening in Texas. Understanding that this is a very rare weather event, is there anything that can be done in the future to prevent such a calamity? I have seen lots of examples of people without power for almost 3 days straight, no natural gas, no running water, and broken pipes flooding many businesses and residences. Fuel and food shortages, dangerous travel with icy roads, people and animals freezing to death. Surely, we have the ability to prevent or reduce such damage and suffering? Are the pipelines and power generators not winterized or otherwise prepared for the rare possibility of very cold weather? Was this the result of corporate greed and cost cutting or was it just a fluke? Has the population growth resulted in demand outstripping supply? So much suffering. We, as an advanced society, should be better than this.
 
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Newdude

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TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,149
NY
The money that was supposed to go to ‘winterizing’ and building the plant to handle such demand got spent elsewhere because ‘what are the odds ?’

Heads will roll over those *at the time* sound decisions. Sweeping reform will happen and those poor people who suffered will foot the bill for the second slap in the face.

I dunno if you remember @skimmerswimmer but we used to call in all kinds of out of state help from other electric companies before the hurricanes/blizzards hit so they were ready to go at minute one.

Then that one time the storm blew out to sea at the last minute and the big Expose’ in the paper was all the bucket trucks sitting at hotels with no storm. The electric company got sued by the AG for wasting millions of dollars. Every storm since they get called in a week too late and then they get sued by the AG for being underprepared. 🤦‍♂️
 
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JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
2,287
Prosper, TX (DFW)
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I've been watching the news about what has been happening in Texas. Understanding that this is a very rare weather event, is there anything that can be done in the future to prevent such a calamity? I have seen lots of examples of people without power for almost 3 days straight, no natural gas, no running water, and broken pipes flooding many businesses and residences. Fuel and food shortages, dangerous travel with icy roads, people and animals freezing to death. Surely, we have the ability to prevent or reduce such damage and suffering? Are the pipelines and power generators not winterized or otherwise prepared for the rare possibility of very cold weather? Was this the result of corporate greed and cost cutting or was it just a fluke? Has the population growth resulted in demand outstripping supply? So much suffering. We, as an advanced society, should be better than this.
Absolutely, there is lots of blame to go around. There is lots of finger pointing going on right now, but in my mind here are the issues:

1. We put a lot of eggs in one basket by having 25% of our power generated by wind. Thats awesome and a preferred solution to fossil fuels 99.9% of the time. Ice storms appear to be that 0.1% of the time since they shut down during the ice storm just as demand spiked. We need to look at how we can continue being environmentally responsible while ensuring our grid is prepared for these types of events.

2. ERCOT manages the power grid that covers most of the state and they share most of the blame here. They are responsible for oversight of the power plants, but have focused too much on cost cutting measures and skimped on necessary things like ensuring the plants are properly prepared for winter. The lack of winterization caused some of the non-wind plants to also go offline due to winter weather related issues at the plants.
Additionally ERCOT has been selling power to other grids across the US. Thats great when we have it to spare, not so much when we need it. Last night the governor signed an order for them to stop selling it outside of Texas, and magically I have had power ever since.

3. I'm treading lightly here since this is political, but Texas has their older and less desirable power plants in reserve that are turned on as needed during the peak summer season. The request to turn these on for this winter storm was made and unfortunately denied by the powers that be at the federal level.

I'm sure there is more blame than the above, but that's my 2 cents on where we need to start after all of this.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,149
NY
but that's my 2 cents on where we need to start after all of this
They will start with $250M in reform. First off we have to spend $75M on and environmental study on how all this affects the spotted salamanders. Then the CEO needs $30M to oversee all the reform. The executive board needs $10M each because we absolutely need their talent to stay for the duration. And the Directors !!!! We simply NEED the directors to implement all these changes. They can have $1M bonuses for their hard work. Letsee here.... we need new trucks and tools to help the workers work.... some more employees to do the work (as if) and we have $6.32 left. What can we buy for $6.32 ? A 5 pack of light bulbs ???! SWEET !!! Well done all !!

*rates go up $373 a year per household for 5 lightbulbs*
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,149
NY
*sorry for making light of all this. We can’t change the weather, the damage or the Bureaucracy. Maybe if I can make you laugh it will warm you up a little.
 

AndyTN

Bronze Supporter
Mar 27, 2019
360
Memphis
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I also read somewhere that there is common use in the power grid in TX for battery storage of electricity from off-peak times. The temps are so cold that the batteries cannot operate at such low temps.

Is it common in TX for people to be set up with heat pumps to heat their homes since the winters are normally mild? Its that contributing to the surge in electricity demand?
 

JJ_Tex

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Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,287
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I also read somewhere that there is common use in the power grid in TX for battery storage of electricity from off-peak times. The temps are so cold that the batteries cannot operate at such low temps.

Is it common in TX for people to be set up with heat pumps to heat their homes since the winters are normally mild? Its that contributing to the surge in electricity demand?
I haven't heard that about the batteries. My understanding is that with the electric grid, it is use it or lose it.

As for heat pumps, I can say that I never had a heat pump in the 6 houses I have owned or lived in here (Houston, Austin, and Dallas areas). They have all been AC units for the summer and Natural Gas furnaces for the winter. I do know some people with heat pumps, but they are more rural areas who do not have access to Natural Gas and do not want a propane tank.
 
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