Rolling Blackouts Caused by Burst Pipes at Power Plants

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Burst water pipes at two coal-fired power plants forced them to shut down, triggering rolling power cuts across the state, the lieutenant governor said Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said this is something that "should not happen." Dewhurst said he was told that water pipes at two plants, Oak Grove and Sand Hill, forced them to cut electricity production. Natural gas power plants that should have provided back up had difficulty starting due to low pressure in the supply lines, also caused by the cold weather.

The lieutenant governor said the demand placed on the Texas grid was nowhere near peak capacity. He said he was frustrated by the situation.

The statewide electricity authority ordered cities across the state to start rolling power outages to cope with the crisis.