Rolling blackouts his southeast Texas after Rita

Houston Chronicle:

The combination of rolling power outages and record heat is causing problems today for communities still recovering from Rita’s wrath.

North and east of Houston, Entergy is continuing rolling blackouts that began Monday for 142,000 customers in hopes of forestalling a larger, uncontrolled blackout in the badly damaged system. The rolling outages were originally supposed to last about an hour.

But because so many people are cranking up their air conditioners to battle unusually hot weather, the power grid is becoming overloaded and outages are lasting longer, said Mike Rodgers, an Entergy spokesman.

"Our system has been crippled," he said. "No one likes rolling outages because they don’t like to sit in the heat, but if we don’t do it we risk causing a blackout that could leave us sitting in the dark for several weeks."

Rodgers is asking people to conserve electricity by setting their thermostats to 77 degrees and keeping computers and other electronic use to a minimum.

We have also experienced short power outtages in Washington County sometimes several times during the day, although have been as extended as those on the Entergy system. Entergy, which used to be headquartered in New Orleans has been scrambling since Hurricane Katrina. In Washington County we are serviced by the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative which most of its power production to the west of us. The heat has been oppressives, making it difficult to work outside for any length of time.

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