Extreme Weather Could Mean Blackouts | KERA News

Extreme Weather Could Mean Blackouts

Dallas, TX – The state's electric power grid operator says Texas needs more generating capacity if it's to avoid repeats of last February's rolling blackouts and the summer's power supply crises.

In statements issued Thursday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas says extreme conditions this winter could mean a worst-case of demand for 60,000 megawatts with generation dipping to about 57,000 megawatts.

It also said its reserve generating capacity "will likely fall below the minimum target beginning next summer." It cites decisions to mothball some outdated generation units, delays in planned generation and higher demand expectations.

ERCOT expects to have a 12 percent margin in reserve generating capacity in the next two summer peak seasons. That's short of the 13.75 percent margin it believes ensures reliable power during higher-than-normal temperatures and generator outages.

Retail gasoline prices down 6 cents in Texas

Retail gasoline prices have dropped 6 cents this week across Texas.

Triple-A Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump was $3.11 per gallon.

The association says nationwide gasoline prices are also down 6 cents, to settle at an average $3.29.

Amarillo has the most expensive gasoline statewide, at $3.18 a gallon.

El Paso and Corpus Christi have the least expensive gasoline in the latest survey, at $3.04 per gallon.

Romney visits former President George H.W. Bush

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney met with former President George H.W. Bush on Thursday.

The former Massachusetts governor ventured onto the turf of a GOP presidential rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, to meet with Bush and his wife, Barbara, in the living room of their Houston home.

Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said Romney and the nation's 41st president are friends, but added that the visit doesn't mean Bush will endorse Romney.

Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said the meeting was a courtesy visit, noting that Bush has met with other GOP presidential hopefuls, including Jon Huntsman.

Springsteen at South by Southwest event in Austin

Bruce Springsteen will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 South by Southwest music festival in Texas.

Organizers on Thursday announced that the rock 'n' roll great will be featured during a March 15 event at the Austin Convention Center.

Previous keynote speakers have included Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Lucinda Williams, Robert Plant, Smokey Robinson and Neil Young.

South by Southwest begins March 9 with interactive and film events. The music festival stars March 13, showcasing more than 2,000 acts from around the world at dozens of stages throughout downtown Austin.

Springsteen and his E Street Band hit the road next year for a worldwide tour.