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Texas ERCOT power grid warns of rolling blackouts

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
Texas ERCOT power grid warns of rolling blackouts
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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s power grid, warned residents of potential rolling blackouts starting Monday afternoon due to the extreme heat.

On Sunday night, ERCOT issued an appeal to Texans urging energy conservation on Monday from 2pm – 8pm. 

“With extreme hot weather driving record power demand across Texas, ERCOT is issuing a Conservation Appeal, asking Texans and Texas businesses to voluntarily conserve electricity,” the appeal reads.

 

ERCOT asked Texans to turn up their thermostats to 78 degrees and postpone using large appliances such as dishwashers, laundry machines, etc., during peak afternoon hours.

ERCOT’s statement said that no system-wide outages are expected at this time, but some cities are preparing for that possibility.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked all city departments to prepare in case the state’s power grid fails due to extreme heat.

 

This isn’t the first time this year that ERCOT has asked Texans to conserve power and keep their thermostats at 78 degrees. In May, the company asked Texans to conserve power for two days after six power plants unexpectedly went down ahead of a hot weekend.

Texas Not On National Grid

After one of the worst power outage instances in Texas’ history, where millions of residents were without power for days in subfreezing temperatures and hundreds of people died, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tried to assure Texans that the ability to power their home would not be infringed upon.

Texas’ power plants work in conjunction with their natural gas facilities. With subfreezing temperatures in February 2021, demand for energy shut down power plants as well as the natural gas facilities that supply them with fuel.

Texas is not a part of the nation’s two national grids that supply power through a network of facilities. Long-held fears of additional federal oversight have dissuaded Texas from connecting to the national power networks, which would allow the state to buy and sell energy with the rest of the country.

Connecting to the national power grid also would allow Texas to tap into the reserves of surrounding states whenever projections show that their usage limits would be reached, like it was during the winter storm in 2021, or during the current heat wave.

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