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Tallahassee's Electric Manager Says City's Grid Is Resilient

Tom Flanigan
City of Tallahassee line workers on the job

While severe winter weather disabled much of Texas's power supply, Tallahassee's has multiple backups and disaster contingencies, says Rob McGarrah.

The near total meltdown of the Texas electric grid last week has some Tallahassee residents wondering if that could happen here. The general manager of the city's electric utility insists the Capital City's power system is far less prone to wholesale collapse.
Although no power grid is totally immune to failure, Rob McGarrah said Tallahassee's comes close. For one thing, it can handle much greater loads than the typical demand. He explained it is annually certified to be able to provide at least 17% more than the highest demand forecast during the next 10 years. There's also a fuel backup.

"We're primarily natural gas, but for many of our units we have diesel as a fuel backup."

Unlike Texas, the Capital City's grid is interconnected.

"We have the ability to buy and sell from other utilities, both within the state of Florida and utilities to the north and west of us."

In short, McGarrah said long experience with disasters like hurricanes has made Tallahassee's system about as robust as they come.

"We have multiple strategies to help deal with that unusual circumstance."

That includes, he insisted, record-setting cold snaps like the one that brought the Lone Star State's power grid to its knees.