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GETTING ANSWERS: Why were the power black outs necessary?

Getting Answers
Posted at 9:19 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 23:55:11-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — With the winter storm, the electric grid is being tested as Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi are all reporting outages Wednesday night.

According to poweroutage.us, which tracks a number of utility companies, outages are reported in Louisiana.

Across the state, power companies have resorted to those controlled, "rolling outages" over the past few days. And it's happening all across the South.

"The whole block was out, all of this was out," Dorian Harden said outside of the Walmart on Pinhook.

Harden says he was out eating Tuesday night around 8 p.m. when the power went out.

"Then I got home, the power was still out, for 45 minutes to an hour, then it came back on," Harden said.

"It's important to understand, if the whole grid is not secure, up, safe and running, everybody will be off for much much longer," said Mary Laurent, SLEMCO Communications Coordinator.

Laurent says the outages were requested by the organization that runs the grid. She adds that parts of the grid had to be turned off to prevent longer outages, as colder temperatures are causing higher usage.

"All of the generating plants that are through out the 15 state region were a part of, could not keep up with the demand," Laurent said.

Many are asking why do we not see this during the summer?

Laurent says central heating uses 3 times more power than the air conditioner.

"The differences are much greater," said Laurent. "A 4-ton cooling system may use 5 kw, but you may have 20 kw on the heating side. That's why the demand is so much greater on the heating side."

To conserve energy, or help prevent a future black out, Laurent recommends setting your thermostat below 68 degrees. Also turning off your water heater during the night time, when it is not in use.

"That's your second biggest user of electricity, all year long, not just during the winter time," Laurent said. "You can save on the demand on the system by doing that as well."

For more information on the blackouts, click here.