Power Outages And Natural Gas Delivery
Most people don’t think that natural gas usage and electricity usage are related. That notion couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many households have natural gas to heat their water, stove tops and ovens, and to heat their houses. So those people think they are better off in a power outage than households that have all electric appliances. Well, most of those natural gas appliances use electric starters to ignite the gas. So, if the power goes out, chances are that the natural gas appliances won’t work either.
On a broader scale, most natural gas compression stations need electricity to run their compressors. The compressors raise the pressure of the gas in the lines so that it can be moved over long distances to be delivered to homes and businesses. With no electricity to run the compressors, the pressure of the gas can fall and not be delivered quickly enough to meet demand or at all.
In February 2011, a massive cold spell hit the Rockies and spilled southward into Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas. Rolling blackouts occurred across West Texas and severely affected the natural gas supply in Arizona and New Mexico. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost natural gas and were told it could take several days to restore the capacity.
West Texas supplies the power to the gas compressor stations that send natural gas to these states. With the rolling blackouts happening, the compressor stations had to shut down and caused reduced pressure on the pipelines which cut the amount of gas being shipped. That meant no gas to heat houses, cook meals, or run water heaters in one of the coldest spells of the year.
This is just another way that shows how dependent our everyday lives are on electricity.