Next-day Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power prices dug deep into triple digits Wednesday in the wake of a massive winter storm.

AccuWeather.com reported that the high temperature in Dallas was forecast to reach only 20 Wednesday with an overnight low of 15, and according to an ERCOT North generator, "The cold affects anything that moves, whether its people, animals, or machinery. The power outages could be due to a wide array of problems. Real time locational marginal prices have been all over the board."

IntercontinentalExchange reported that power for delivery Thursday into the ERCOT Houston transmission zone jumped $330.32 to $397.00 and power into the ERCOT North zone serving Dallas-Fort Worth soared $260.44 to $330.64. Parcels into San Antonio, Austin and ERCOT South jumped $236.72 to $305.00.

ERCOT was urging all consumers who could reduce their energy consumption to do so, and said "severe weather has led to the loss of more than 50 generation units -- more than 7,000 MW," with additional units continuing to trip offline due to the extreme cold temperatures. "ERCOT Grid Operations has asked the utilities/transmission providers to implement rotating outages until the load is reduced through conservation and restoration of generation units. Conservation is very critical at this time to reduce the load on the system."

By noon, though, 2000 MW of the rotating outages had been restored, while another 2000 MW was still under rotating outages. By mid-afternoon ERCOT issued a notice that rotating outages were no longer needed, but "there is a strong possibility that they will be required again this evening or tomorrow, depending on how quickly the disabled generation units can be returned to service." It added that some consumers were still without power.

A Midwest generator speculated that the power outages in Texas may have been caused by snow and moisture dampening unprotected coal piles.

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