ERCOT avoids entering ’emergency conditions,’ customers no longer need to conserve power


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which controls the flow of electricity in the state, avoided entering “emergency conditions” Tuesday, after about a quarter of its generating capacity went offline for expected maintenance.

ERCOT had asked customers and businesses to conserve energy during that time.

“Our energy conservation appeal has ended without the need for an energy emergency. Thank you for conserving energy when it was needed,” ERCOT said Tuesday night.

Earlier Tuesday, ERCOT announced that high generator outages that are typical for the month of April coupled with “higher-than-forecasted” demand caused by a stalled cold front have led to the condition.

About 25% of the total generating capacity, 32,000 megawatts, went offline Tuesday.

Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of Grid Planning and Operations, said a majority of the 32,000 megawatts that went offline were for expected maintenance in preparation for the summer months. Most of the repairs were scheduled and weren’t due to the February winter storm.

ERCOT says “without this maintenance the summer period would have more issues.”

The council said it doesn’t expect customer outages and declaring an emergency would allow it time to access additional resources. Nevertheless, ERCOT is asking customers and businesses to conserve electricity use into Tuesday evening.

Back in February, millions of Texans spent days without heat or electricity under single-digit temperatures, and 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.

This meant a wide-reaching shuffle in the coming weeks, including resignations from several board members and the termination of President and CEO Bill Magness. Even more trouble for the council: hearings in both the Texas House and Senate to determine the extent of the council’s preparation for the storms.

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