State Watch

Texas grid operator warns electricity demand could near records during cold snap

Drivers navigate snowy highway in Austin, Texas
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A cold weather front next week could trigger near record-setting levels of electric demand in Texas, which last winter saw days-long power outages impacting millions in the state, according to the state’s grid operator. 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) did not issue warnings or conservation calls, but it informed government agencies and others that it was implementing an “aggressive grid management plan,”  according to The Dallas Morning News.

Specifically, the council predicted that the electric demand could be near the demand seen during last year’s deadly cold snap, the newspaper added. 

In a statement to The Hill, ERCOT said it was confident it could continue to meet energy demand despite the coming front.  

“Because of the landmark reforms by the Texas Legislature and implemented by the Public Utility Commission, the grid is more resilient and reliable than it has ever been,” it said. “ERCOT is confident it will be able to meet electric demand as a result of the rigorous new preparation and resiliency requirements.”

Last month, Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Peter Lake promised Texans that their lights would remain on throughout the winter.

“The ERCOT grid is stronger and more reliable than ever,” Lake said. “We go into this winter knowing that because of all these efforts the lights will stay on.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has made similar promises following the criticism he endured for the mass outages that took place last year.  

Epidemiologists say last year’s freezing weather led to  210 deaths in Texas, with hypothermia, traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning among the causes.

Tags ERCOT Greg Abbott power outage Texas
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