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Defenders: ERCOT releases information about unplanned electric outages

Most of the unplanned outages were the result of equipment issues that needed to be fixed immediately.

AUSTIN, Texas — The KVUE Defenders have been looking into the power issues facing the state and we've got a new look at unplanned outages taking place this summer.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked people to reduce electricity use in June after 12,000 megawatts of power generation unexpectedly went offline – enough to power 2.4 million homes on a hot summer day.

ERCOT just released a list of those outages and, since the beginning of June, there have been 1,144 unplanned outages.

The Defenders broke them down by fuel type and found that the majority of them, 507, were natural gas. Most of those outages, 314, were what ERCOT calls "forced," meaning the plants had to be shut down because the condition of the equipment could pose a threat to people, equipment or public safety.

A total of 304 of the outages were wind-related, the majority of these outages (296) at wind turbines were forced outages. And 112 of the outages were solar, the majority of these (89) were forced outages.

ERCOT released this information in an effort to be more transparent and while it gives us a better understanding of which plants have had trouble, the information also shows all but six of those plants are back online. 

It is difficult to know if these outages are the result of damage from the winter storm or if we are in danger of seeing more of these plants go offline when temperatures once again begin to rise. We have asked those questions and, as soon as we hear back, we will let you know.

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