Ercot Rolling Blackouts Show Super Bowl Is More Valuable Than People

Jeanne Sager

power cordWith nonsense names like ERCOT and Oncor being linked to rare rolling blackouts in Texas this week, it sounds like aliens are attacking. But no, it's just unusually nasty winter weather and the Super Bowl grabbing the Lone Star state by the power plugs this week.

ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, has called for the blackouts to help deal with an increased demand for energy usage due to the unseasonably (for Texas) cold winter weather. Power companies like Oncor are making them happen for just about everyone. Except Super Bowl central, natch. Because who cares about 2.9 million homes in the dark if you can continue tours of the Cowboys Stadium for all the drunken tourists?

Get that? No alien life forms attacking Texas! Just people who don't have much regard for life and limb.

Oncor has pledged that the stadium in Arlington will remain exempt from the blackouts, not just on Sunday during the big game but all week long. Really, how could they not? It's Texas! And they've wrangled the Super Bowl into coming to town. They have to grab that longhorn by the, um, horns, and milk that cash cow (work with me, I'm too cold to think here in the Northeast even with my electric on). As Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones said:

This is football country. It runs deep. It runs through men and women. It's a big deal. That's the way it is here -- period. All that should help us if we have ambitions of hosting future Super Bowls.

Wow, I'm sure that will be a big relief to the 2.9 million people in Texas who are losing power this week, some for as much as an hour. It should be a salve to the parents who saw their kids' schools close because there was no power in the buildings, to the employers whose employees found the traffic snarls (no stoplights you see) made driving into work on time dangerous. These homes and business are losing heat too, in a state where the Groundhog Day storm dumped enough snow to close airports, and the temperatures have dipped below freezing.

Meanwhile, the Super Bowl site is reportedly drawing as much energy as a "medium-sized city." Keep in mind, this is Texas, where everything is bigger, and so we have to take "medium" with a grain of salt. I'm thinking Chicago, maybe? Boston? Inside they're giving tours this week, prepping for Sunday and keeping their workers at a balmy 68 degrees. I hear Jones is shooting for the biggest Super Bowl crowd ever. Maybe he could just invite the Texans without power to come in from the cold with him -- there are 2.9 million fans right there!

Is this a travesty or just what needs to be done to bring business to Texas?


Image via edkohler/Flickr

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