Texans asked to reduce electric use through Friday as temperatures soar


FILE – This Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 file photo shows power lines in Houston. The Biden administration is taking steps to protect the country’s electric system from cyberattacks through a new 100-day initiative combining federal government agencies and private industry. The initiative was announced Tuesday by the Energy Department. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which controls the flow of about 90% of the power in Texas, is asking residents to conserve power through Friday as temperatures in the state surge.

ERCOT says the power grid will likely be tighter due to a high number of forced generation outages.

On Monday, afternoon data from ERCOT indicates forecasted demand may exceed capacity during peak heat hours in the afternoon, and it’s not expected to change much during the week with temperatures close to 100 degrees.

“We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” said ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. “This is unusual for this early in the summer season.”

ERCOT has been under national scrutiny since February’s winter storm after outages left millions of Texans without heat or electricity under single-digit temperatures for days. ERCOT’s management — or mismanagement — of the crisis came to be near-universally acknowledged as a failure. With this judgment came increasing attention on its leadership.

The fallout from the mass outages catalyzed a series of big changes for the council: including director resignations, a state investigation, and the termination of President and CEO Bill Magness.

In May, the council said its seasonal report for the summer months showed a low risk for emergency conditions from June through September, and it expects a peak summer energy demand of 77,144 megawatts.

Rickerson added at the time that the council can’t control the weather or forced generation outages but said ERCOT is “prepared to deploy the tools that are available to us to maintain a reliable electric system.”

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