As Texas electric network is again strained, council requests evening power reduction

Emerson Clarridge
·1 min read

A request from the nonprofit corporation that manages the Texas power grid that people across the state reduce electricity ended Tuesday night without an energy emergency declaration.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said its conservation advisory to residential consumers and businesses was necessary because of high generation outages typical in April and higher-than-forecast demand caused by a stalled cold front over the state. ERCOT said that it did not expect customer outages.

In February, millions of people in Texas went without power after ERCOT initiated widespread outages during a winter storm that led to boil water notices, frozen and burst pipes, and 133 deaths across the state, mostly from hypothermia, according to the Department of State Health Services. The grid operator has defended the decision as necessary to avoid a statewide blackout as demand for power outpaced supply.

ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson wrote in a statement that the emergency declaration would have allowed it to access tools that would bring supply and demand back into line.

Rickerson told Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV that the outages were needed for routine and winter storm maintenance.

Joshua Rhodes, a research associate at the University of Texas Energy Institute, told WFAA that about half of the thermal fleet was offline.

“I don’t think the power is going to go out, but it’s a little bit frustrating on a day (with temperatures in the) 70s and 80s that we would be in this kind of bind,” Rhodes said. “If it were pushing 90 in Dallas, Austin and Houston, that would be freakout time. Luckily it’s not so bad that A/C isn’t pushing the grid over.”