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2020-21 Winter weather; bring it on


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35 minutes ago, Biff Tannen said:

I admittedly don't understand most of this, but isn't it a bit stupid to have the ability to provide a basic utility dependent on pricing that isn't regulated?

When there's a shortage, capping the price isn't going to make more magically appear.

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Power back on. 109 hours. I almost want to cry a little 

I’m exhausted.  I haven’t been on here in a while.  My volunteer fire department has run well over 40 calls the last few days to include several working structure fires.  Not having water is getting w

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19 minutes ago, Chet Steadman said:

Has the CoA provided any timing updates on when they expect to restore water pressure?  
 

Our neighborhood has been running between 0-30% pressure for the past 24 hours or so.  

Ping. We’d like to know too.

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23 minutes ago, dcar00 said:

Yes austin energy has fucking idiots working for it. Since last thurs I have had outages of 33 15 10 and now 26 hours and counting. Neighbors across street have been down about 15 total and have been up the entire time this 26. 

I'm glad it hasn't been 85 straight but fuck this.heads need to roll.

Some bullshit excuse about a frozen breaker but they cant tell me if  a crew is working It now.

This is a massive failure and complete incompetency at this point.

 

 

You're really putting some effort into trying to make this "it's definitely COA's fault that we have statewide energy shortages created by a lack of regulation and a refusal to tie in to a national grid by state politicians and ERCOT" thing happen. Your commitment is admirable.

Edited by BradInATX
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LOL, probably now.  By my pot FIL is in love with my son, who's getting into multi-resident real estate.  PFIL loves to talk to him about investments, etc.
Look man, if the guy can rescue me like that, I'll consider goin' gay for the duration of the next one of these bastards.

And that’s fair.
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When do we think it's safe for #teamdrip and #teamstream to stop streaming and dripping?

Perhaps foolishily, I have never bothered with dripping with "ordinary" hard freezes, like to the 20s.  But there, we're dealing with a temperature drop, not a rise, so the baseline is much worse.

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12 minutes ago, BradInATX said:

 

You're really putting some effort into trying to make this "it's definitely COA's fault that we have statewide energy shortages created by a lack of regulation and a refusal to tie in to a national grid by state politicians and ERCOT" thing happen. Your commitment is admirable.

I already said ercot is fucked but your pissyness and reading comprehension is admirable.  During the first 33 hour outage austin energy said the system showed power at my house area. I said it's not up.  I had to call 3 times before they finally told me there was a failure in their system. They have now told me that my 4 different outages were equipment related so yeah austin energy is a poorly run shitshow just like ercot

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Update:
- Heater ran 4 hours straight to get me up to 65° where I'm holding it last night (although I'm on gas heat and the blowers don't put out that much electricity). Glorious.  I'm sure many of you experienced that great feeling this morning or back into yesterday.  If not yet, I totally understand and am rooting for it to happen NOW.

- No, I actually Can Quit my son's future father-in-law.  But thanks for your interest.  If I turn gay, it'll be with him if the temp goes below freezing in the future.

- Only thing I have left is to decide when to check/turn on the water from the well.  Wait until the first real thaw (Fri. afternoon) or now?  I'll be thinkin' about that.

Weather:
- Ahh, who cares?  Yeah, dead horse already beat.  But so far models are holding up, bulk of precip is SW of us.  They actually moved us down from Winter Storm Warning to Winter Weather Advisory (in ATX and immediately surrounding counties).  This crap will start falling this morning and last only a short time, into the mid-late afternoon.  Then it's over.  And fuck it with ten thousand AIDS-infested dildoes.

- Still a rooting chance we could get > freezing today for awhile - ahh fuggit what am I saying, it's never gonna get > freezing again.  Still, it'll be close enough that some melting might happen anyway.  Not enough to matter much, but some.

- You read the temp thing last night, still holds true at this point.  The good thing is that the temps look to steadily trend up, every.single.day.of.the.next.seven.or.eight.   This shit is SO out of here tomorrow.

Good luck during the Big Thaw coming.  Open your house plumbing slowly and carefully.  Know where your house shut-off valve is (either in your ground box or in the house.  Also make sure it's not frozen, if so use a blowdryer or whatnot to make sure it turns easily.  That valve is one you don't want to bust.

Out till later.  

 

Edited by phdhorn
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10 hours ago, Hate said:

I had filled a bathtub before we lost power so we've been using that for toilets.  I had my son gather up snow from the trampoline into some coolers which I dumped into the bathtub as well.  We will be able flush for a while.  I used another cooler to gather rain water today.  I boil that and use it to wash dishes.  I have a bunch of bottled water to use for drinking, brushing teeth, and rinsing vegetables.  After reading some of these other experiences I should consider myself lucky.  Of course, I fully expect the pipe and wall repairs to take a couple of months since every single contractor is about to be swamped. 

lol, you have a pool right? Pool water works fine for flushing.

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4 hours ago, Dahobbs said:

Houston shit the bed the worst. Pretty much half the households without power have been in Houston. Fucking ridiculous. 

Houston was bad also.  Seems like they may have recovered better. Austin still lagging but warmer temps will help

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Team No Drip is celebrating with consecutive hours of power as we are apparently off the rolling blackout in our sector. Grew a little worried last night as we returned to the 15-30 minutes on with longer outages, but it may have been to bring more people online as it came on and stayed on in the wee hours of the morning. Whew.

Water is holding.

Much sympathy to those still w/o, especially @ChickenSandwich and @SubliminalHorn who have now entered Jeremiah Johnson level status.

In our household a new phrase has taken hold during this Week of Fire (unavailable) & Ice: *Boydian. @FizzleFish, that was a very Boydian screed. While perhaps well-intentioned, now was perhaps not the best time.

 

*Boydian--(adv.) ( orig: English Proper Noun. Former Colorado City Mayor, Tim Boyd)

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1 minute ago, dcar00 said:

I already said ercot is fucked but your pissyness and reading comprehension is admirable.  During the first 33 hour outage austin energy said the system showed power at my house area. I said it's not up.  I had to call 3 times before they finally told me there was a failure in their system. They have now told me that my 4 different outages were equipment related so yeah austin energy is a poorly run shitshow just like ercot

 

- Ice and snow knocked out a bunch of COA equipment and they can't get trucks there to fix it

- The state of Texas and ERCOT, despite knowing about the risk profile of our electric grid for years, failed to prepare for it and willingly and knowingly sacrificed you and your family's wellbeing and safety so that wealthy energy men could buy beach houses.

 

"Which one should I be mad at? Definitely the first one!"

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23 minutes ago, BradInATX said:

 

You're really putting some effort into trying to make this "it's definitely COA's fault that we have statewide energy shortages created by a lack of regulation and a refusal to tie in to a national grid by state politicians and ERCOT" thing happen. Your commitment is admirable.

I'm not putting any extra special effort into it, but as a Dallasite, it seems that Austin in particular, and Houston to a lesser extent, are more gravely affected by the blackouts than Dallas.

I think it's a legitimate concern.  Something's fucky in Austin.

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5 minutes ago, rage-a-holic said:

lol, you have a pool right? Pool water works fine for flushing.

we have a pool leak (discovered when we took the pool off the autofiller for the freeze) and we just now had to turn off the pump because the water is almost too low for the pump to pull the water out.

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1 minute ago, TwiceHorn said:

I'm not putting any extra special effort into it, but as a Dallasite, it seems that Austin in particular, and Houston to a lesser extent, are more gravely affected by the blackouts than Dallas.

I think it's a legitimate concern.  Something's fucky in Austin.

Dallas probably built infrastructure and charged it on their AMEX. If you wait long enough ya'll's shit will get repoed or you'll lose it in a divorce.

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we are on our back up coffee this morning, it's putrid.  but we've had power continuously and until yesterday we had water too.  friends came over after 3 days of no power (they had their fireplace) and they loved the coffee.  perspective.  I was quite humbled.

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Just now, BradInATX said:

 

- Ice and snow knocked out a bunch of COA equipment and they can't get trucks there to fix it

- The state of Texas and ERCOT, despite knowing about the risk profile of our electric grid for years, failed to prepare for it and willingly and knowingly sacrificed you and your family's wellbeing and safety so that wealthy energy men could buy beach houses.

 

"Which one should I be mad at? Definitely the first one!"

There are cars driving around my neighborhood the last 3 days.  Maybe I should pretend they dont exist and that austin energy cant get trucks there but soccer mom can get to HEB in her 2 wheel drive mazda

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2 minutes ago, troph said:

we are on our back up coffee this morning, it's putrid.  but we've had power continuously and until yesterday we had water too.  friends came over after 3 days of no power (they had their fireplace) and they loved the coffee.  perspective.  I was quite humbled.

Ha. My gen was able to run a small coffee we had in a closet. The morning coffee was the life saver.

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1 minute ago, dcar00 said:

There are cars driving around my neighborhood the last 3 days.  Maybe I should pretend they dont exist and that austin energy cant get trucks there but soccer mom can get to HEB in her 2 wheel drive mazda

I hope you get your power on and ya'll are able to warm up and enjoy the weekend. 

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Something that I have yet to see mentioned in these articles - and don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with the conclusions that ERCOT fucked up and the competitive system isn't far enough forward-looking to incentivize grid improvements- is that this happened on the back half of a four day gas trading weekend. So not only was it a five or six sigma weather event, it was also really bad timing on the trading calendar. Had this happened on a non-holiday weekday, a lot of the power supply issues would have been avoided or minimized. (Some other poster way upthread alluded to this when he was talking about buying gas for his power plant)
For the most part, these resources are traded and managed "day ahead", meaning that gas is purchased and power sold and plants brought up or down the immediate day before. (There is something else called "real time" but that is more like fine tuning what is already up and running, you don't usually startup cold power plants in RT)
It's hard enough to schedule and manage supply for normal weekends, which cover Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Saturday and Sunday have lower demand than Monday, but you have to trade the same amount of product for each day and then you manage it during the day after the schedule is set. Saturday and Sunday positions will sometimes get closed out at a loss with the expectation that Monday's profit will make up for it. 
For Monday holidays, they add Tuesday to the weekend package, so now you are trading four days of equal volumes and price but you have a different load profile on each of those days. 
Last Friday, when the cold was on its way here, it was already in Oklahoma and points north, and that caused gas prices to spike in those areas. Where gas is normally $2 or $3 per MMBTU it was $100 or more. And it was so cold up north that a lot of their wells were frozen off and unable to supply, so they were buying gas in South Texas and shipping it north, which made the price of South Texas gas - "Houston Ship Channel", "Waha", "NGPL STX" - spike as well, FOR THE WHOLE FOUR DAY WEEKEND. Instead of the usual $3, it was trading $200. 10-20x higher than it has ever traded. 
Well, ERCOT underestimated the demand on Monday and a lot of Texas generators woke up on Friday and looked at the Ship Channel price for the four day package and said, "Fuck that. That's too expensive." and they shut their plants down for the 4 day weekend. Then when the shit hit the fan on Monday, those plants were all cold and there wasn't any gas to run them anyway because it had all been exported north AND the wells in Texas were frozen off too AND one of the STP nuclear units got shut down because the water intake was freezing.
And that's how you end up with no power supply when demand is going through the roof. 
As I said at the beginning, had this happened on a normal weekday, a lot of those resources would have been online and available. The bad forecast for the back end of a four day weekend with record gas prices is a big part of why the power grid went down. 
Also, as mentioned above, Houston generators got socked the hardest because there is a very large amount of gas generation here AND it is a gas trading hub AND it typically doesn't get as cold here so the plants are more susceptible.

I admittedly don't understand most of this, but isn't it a bit stupid to have the ability to provide a basic utility dependent on pricing that isn't regulated?

Crimson, FANTASTIC post. In short, the gas plants made a sound and reasonable economic decision....because that is how our system is intentionally designed. ERCOT’s forecast fuckup, and the timing of same, exacerbated the problem. But a large part of this was our system working exactly the way it was designed, meaning this is how we WANTED it to work.

And yes, Biff, you asked the right question. Having an energy-only market, instead of one that also has a capacity component (we would pay operators to have and keep facilities online for such emergencies) is a big part of how we ended up here. And we were warned. Repeatedly.

It seems we’re on the downhill slope now, though. Still too many without power. And water. The economic costs are going to be staggering. And my God....the cost in human life....our fellow Texans, who died right next to us. My heart is fucking breaking.

And “rage” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
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10 minutes ago, troph said:

we have a pool leak (discovered when we took the pool off the autofiller for the freeze) and we just now had to turn off the pump because the water is almost too low for the pump to pull the water out.

We are talking about pulling less than 100 gallons out via bucket to dump in your toilet tanks. That's not gonna make a dent in any pool bigger than a hot tub.

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I know they are a bit pricey but I would suggest the Honda 1000(2000 even better) as a generator. For a real world scenario on the 1000 I can run a side by side fridge small tv and charge many devices at one time. If I add the coffee maker it overloads the 1000 so I unplug the fridge while making the coffee. 

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Just now, rage-a-holic said:

We are talking about pulling less than 100 gallons out via bucket to dump in your toilet tanks. That's not gonna make a dent in any pool bigger than a hot tub.

I wasn't really commenting on your advice, I agree with it, that's what we were doing and still are doing.  I was separately saying that we just had to turn the pump off due to a leak and our inability to refill the pool.  two separate comments - yes pull from the pool, it's a no brainer.  separately, fuck, pool leak means we can't refill it and had to kill the pumps.  need water back on asap. ugh.

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Okay- for the uninitiated please help me one last time.  I’ve been #TeamOutdoorWrap for the last five days.  So far, so good.  

I cut the water line to the house earlier since the pressure is nearly nill now and have all indoor faucets still “on”.   The outdoor spigots are still wrapped to the tits.  

Do I unwrap the outdoor and relieve any pressure which may exist, or keep them wrapped these last 24-36 hours until the temperature exceeds 32°?

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1 minute ago, rage-a-holic said:

We are talking about pulling less than 100 gallons out via bucket to dump in your toilet tanks. That's not gonna make a dent in any pool bigger than a hot tub.

To be fair you don't know the size of her dumps or her frequency.  

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One other piece of weather trivia:

I (can't remember if so) and others might have said, "we've never seen anything like this" regarding the continual hours < freezing.  I know it was cold in '83 but I was outta the apartment (back then as a poorz grad student) then.

So dubious record - with all this freezing, Austin Mabry is at 134 straight subfreezing hours as of 5 a.m. today.  I though we had shattered the record already by like 3 days, but the '83 cold was 140 hours straight.  

So, doing the math, we're now in about 139 hours straight of < 32° at Mabry.  The all-time record will apparently occur some point after 11 a.m. this morning.

Yay.

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3 minutes ago, dcar00 said:

I know they are a bit pricey but I would suggest the Honda 1000(2000 even better) as a generator. For a real world scenario on the 1000 I can run a side by side fridge small tv and charge many devices at one time. If I add the coffee maker it overloads the 1000 so I unplug the fridge while making the coffee. 

Seconded.

Got my Honda 2000i powering this right now.  All I need --- 

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Just now, phdhorn said:

One other piece of weather trivia:

I (can't remember if so) and others might have said, "we've never seen anything like this" regarding the continual hours < freezing.  I know it was cold in '83 but I was outta the apartment (back then as a poorz grad student) then.

So dubious record - with all this freezing, Austin Mabry is at 134 straight subfreezing hours as of 5 a.m. today.  I though we had shattered the record already by like 3 days, but the '83 cold was 140 hours straight.  

So, doing the math, we're now in about 139 hours straight of < 32° at Mabry.  The all-time record will apparently occur some point after 11 a.m. this morning.

Yay.

avatar checks out.

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13 minutes ago, Brisketexan said:

 And “rage” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

He did in the very next post after yours, Captain Jump The Gun.

 

10 minutes ago, rage-a-holic said:

We are talking about pulling less than 100 gallons out via bucket to dump in your toilet tanks. That's not gonna make a dent in any pool bigger than a hot tub.

 

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4 minutes ago, Chet Steadman said:

Do I unwrap the outdoor and relieve any pressure which may exist, or keep them wrapped these last 24-36 hours until the temperature exceeds 32°?

This is exactly what I posted above, what to do?  I think I'm gonna opt to go out again with my blow dryer and unfreeze the valves (if so) and open slightly, then heat 'em until hopefully I get water coming out.  If I can't get that to happen, then I'll probably just put the wrap back on (the heat from the dryer might help at least a bit to keep the freezing part reduced).

I'm a slightly yes vote for #teamunfreeze/openoutside

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1 minute ago, phdhorn said:

This is exactly what I posted above, what to do?  I think I'm gonna opt to go out again with my blow dryer and unfreeze the valves (if so) and open slightly, then heat 'em until hopefully I get water coming out.  If I can't get that to happen, then I'll probably just put the wrap back on (the heat from the dryer might help at least a bit to keep the freezing part reduced).

I'm a slightly yes vote for #teamunfreeze/openoutside

I'm too terrified to touch them. Things are working ok right now. I'm not doing anything to disrupt that. 

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2 minutes ago, Chet Steadman said:

Okay- for the uninitiated please help me one last time.  I’ve been #TeamOutdoorWrap for the last five days.  So far, so good.  

I cut the water line to the house earlier since the pressure is nearly nill now and have all indoor faucets still “on”.   The outdoor spigots are still wrapped to the tits.  

Do I unwrap the outdoor and relieve any pressure which may exist, or keep them wrapped these last 24-36 hours until the temperature exceeds 32°?

I'm still unclear but we lost water, I cut off to the house then I opened all indoor, then the suggestion here was to open outdoor(I was team no drip no check outside) spigots. I rewrapped(half ass) and stopped there.  Turned down the water heater but did not drain. I'm imagining me turning on the water and having a Clark griswold lighting house in Christmas vacation type situation but with water spewing out all sides and through the roof.

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PSA for those with fire sprinklers.

I called our company and they advised to depressurize the system by closing the shutoff valve on the backflow preventer and then slowly opening the drain valve.

In our area, at least, sprinklers with outside exposure are on dry pipes.

There was some horrifying gurgling as it drained, but that is apparently normal.

Anyway, this should probably be done before a big freeze, but I am probably ok according to them.

 

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Just now, TwiceHorn said:

PSA for those with fire sprinklers.

I called our company and they advised to depressurize the system by closing the shutoff valve on the backflow preventer and then slowly opening the drain valve.

In our area, at least, sprinklers with outside exposure are on dry pipes.

There was some horrifying gurgling as it drained, but that is apparently normal.

Anyway, this should probably be done before a big freeze, but I am probably ok according to them.

 

there's a nutsack/balls joke in there somewhere but I'm out of practice.

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6 minutes ago, phdhorn said:

One other piece of weather trivia:

I (can't remember if so) and others might have said, "we've never seen anything like this" regarding the continual hours < freezing.  I know it was cold in '83 but I was outta the apartment (back then as a poorz grad student) then.

So dubious record - with all this freezing, Austin Mabry is at 134 straight subfreezing hours as of 5 a.m. today.  I though we had shattered the record already by like 3 days, but the '83 cold was 140 hours straight.  

So, doing the math, we're now in about 139 hours straight of < 32° at Mabry.  The all-time record will apparently occur some point after 11 a.m. this morning.

Yay.

Yep in dallas in 83. It was crazy. I dont remember us having any pipe bursts but it could have happened. Did see frozen pools.

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