Texas power provider asks residents, businesses to conserve electricity

Texas’s power provider on Tuesday asked residents and businesses to conserve electricity amid higher demand.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a tweet that a combination of high generator outages and higher-than-forecasted demand from winter storms that hammered the Lone Star State may have forced ERCOT to enter emergency conditions.

“ERCOT is requesting energy conservation at this time. Consumers and businesses are urged to reduce their electricity use this afternoon and into the evening,” the grid operator said.

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ERCOT ended its appeal roughly four hours later on Tuesday without the need for declaring an emergency.

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

The warning comes just months after winter storms led ERCOT to implement controlled blackouts across Texas to avoid damage to the state’s power grid.

ERCOT’s handling of the winter storms came under fire from state and federal officials and led to the resignations of its board members, as wells the head of the Texas Public Utility Commission.

Woody Rickerson, vice president of grid planning and operations, told reporters in a news conference on Tuesday that outages are typically higher in April due to scheduled maintenance, according to The Dallas Morning News. The news outlet noted that the number of outages was higher this year than in 2020.

ERCOT spokeswomen Leslie Sopko also said that an unspecified number of generators were still undergoing maintenance related to the storm, the newspaper reported. She added that outages for maintenance might be higher due to the generating capacity added to the grid in the last year.