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Texas Grid Problem Exacerbated Power Failures During Blackout

  • Dip in electricity flow forced plants offline, generators say
  • Grid operator has maintained that dip didn’t affect generators
A worker repairs a power line in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 18. 

A worker repairs a power line in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 18. 

Photographer: Thomas Ryan Allison/Bloomberg

The power-plant failures that plunged millions of Texans into darkness during a deep winter freeze in February weren’t just caused by frozen equipment and gas-supply issues.

A problem with the power grid itself knocked about 1.26 gigawatts of generation offline at the peak of the crisis, potentially exacerbating the energy woes. About 2% of outages that week were caused by an unexpected dip in frequency -- or the flow of electricity on the grid -- according to a survey of power suppliers released Tuesday by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of the state’s power system.