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This may be more of an engineering problem...

A recent newspaper article stated that the rolling blackouts instituted during the recent cold snap in Texas narrowly averted parts of their grid catching on fire. Apparently this can occur when demand exceeds supply.

I understand that if there is a "weak link" in a power grid then excessive power through that particular link to supply areas in need might overload it, but the problem seemed to be more general, that whenever demand exceeds supply there could be fires. Why is this the case?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking why are there wild-fires in general (in times where demand is high) or are you asking about how power grids (specifically power grids) catch fire? $\endgroup$ – joseph h Feb 23 at 4:21
  • $\begingroup$ I think the question is, why would a "lack" of electricity cause fires? $\endgroup$ – Kristoffer Sjöö Feb 23 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ @KristofferSjöö Yes, that is what puzzles me. Is there some feedback that the few working generators try to meet the need and that is the cause of the fires? Or does the drain throw off the phase or frequency of the AC power and somehow that causes fires? $\endgroup$ – Kieran Mullen Feb 23 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ @josephh It's closer to the latter - I understand that if you push more power through a system than the level for which it is designed, it can catch fire. But why should it catch fire when you supply less power than the level for which it was designed? $\endgroup$ – Kieran Mullen Feb 23 at 19:35

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