ERCOT Urges Texas Power Customers to Reduce Usage

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Conditions on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid have returned to normal, but conservation is still needed as cold weather continues to cause a high demand for power.

Demand for electricity today reached 55,486 MW in the hour leading up to 8 a.m. today. ERCOT issued an Energy Emergency Alert and implemented demand response programs through some entities, which contract with ERCOT to reduce their electric use when needed.

“Cold weather will continue through tomorrow morning, and we will continue to monitor conditions closely,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations. “Consumers are encouraged to use electricity wisely, and a conservation alert remains in effect throughout the ERCOT region.”

UPDATE: ERCOT says the Power Warning has been cancelled. A Power Watch is now in effect. They are still asking customers to conserve as much energy as possible.


The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, is asking customers to reduce their power consumption.

Monday morning, the group sent out a message that said they were implementing Energy Emergency Alert Level 2. This means that energy reserves in the state were below 1750 MW.

ERCOT said they were deploying "load resources" but that rotating outages may need to be implemented. Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service initiated by each utility when supplies of reserve power are exhausted. Without this safety valve, generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a region-wide outage.

Rotating outages primarily affect residential neighborhoods and small businesses and do not typically include critical-need customers such as hospitals and nursing homes.

The outages are typically limited to 10-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood. Some customers may experience longer outages if power surges cause equipment failure during the restoration process. Customers can minimize power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other equipment, except for one task light to determine when power has been restored.

ERCOT urges customers and businesses to reduce electrical usage.

Here are some ways to help until operating reserves are restored to target levels.:
· Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable, preferably no higher than 68 degrees.
· Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
· Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours (6-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.).
· Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
· Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
· Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.