Texas urges residents to cut power usage as prices surge

Raise your thermostat by a degree or two, avoid using large appliances..."


On Thursday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued a "Voluntary Conservation Notice" because it was expecting extreme temperatures after issuing an ERCOT Weather Watch on August 12. 

In a statement posted on X, the state's grid operators said that "due to extreme temperatures, forecasted high demand & lower reserves due to low wind generation. Texans are asked to voluntarily reduce electric use, if safe to do so." 

The company gives energy savings tips on its website. "During summer, Raise your thermostat by a degree or two, avoid using large appliances, turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances, and set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight," it states. 

ERCOT lists a voluntary notice as its level three of four with an "Energy Emergency Alert (EEA)" being the highest risk where it may have to issue controlled outages to deal with extremely low energy reserves. 

The company says they issue a "Weather watch" alert to give a three to five-day look ahead for "possible higher demand due to forecasted conditions." It says a Voluntary Conservation Notice is "a call for Texans to reduce energy usage during peak demand periods, where safe to do so. Conservation is a common tool used throughout the industry to support grid reliability."

ERCOT issued a similar request to consumers in June as the states dealt with its first major heatwave of the year. According to CBS, wind power makes 24 percent of the electricity production in Texas, and has been a source of concern for not generating enough power to keep up with demand during peak times. 

UT Dallas' Wind Energy Center Dr. Todd Griffith said at the time, "On days when the wind is a bit lower we need to compensate for that with these other sources…namely, natural gas and coal sources and nuclear."

Texas has more wind turbines than anyone else, with around 15,000 throughout the state.

ERCOT ended its weather watch Friday at Midnight and thanked residents and businesses for their conservation efforts. 

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