Breaking News
More () »

ERCOT issues voluntary conservation alert for Monday amid extreme heat

ERCOT is asking residents and businesses to conserve electricity on Monday, July 11, between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued a "conservation appeal" on Sunday night asking Texans and businesses in the state to voluntarily conserve energy. 

ERCOT asked residents and businesses to conserve electricity on Monday, July 11, between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The council also issued a watch for a "projected reserve capacity shortage with no market solution available" on Monday at the same time. 

ERCOT said no system-wide outages are expected at this time. However, as of Monday evening, ERCOT reported that Monday set a new unofficial all-time peak demand record at 78,264 MW, surpassing the record set on July 8 at 78,204 MW. ERCOT added that between 1:56 p.m. and 2 p.m., customers took action and dropped 500 MW off the load.

The call for conservation comes as the power grid is experiencing record-high electric demand due to the extreme heat impacting Texas. ERCOT also said lowered wind generation is part of the cause for the conservation call. 

In a release, ERCOT said the call for voluntary conservation is issued when projected reserves may fall below 2,300 MW for half an hour or more. The council encouraged electric customers to visit the Public Utility Commission's website for conservation tips.

A few of those tips include turning up thermostats "a degree or two" during peak times and postponing running major appliances and pool pumps during peak afternoon hours.

"ERCOT continues to use all tools available to manage the grid effectively and reliably, including using reserve power and calling upon large electric customers who have volunteered to lower their energy use," a release from the council read. 

The call for voluntary conservation comes as the Texas power grid hit a new peak demand record on Friday, July 8. It's one of the several times that peak demand broke new records over the last two months. 

Dr. Emily Beagle, a research associate with the Weber Energy Group and the Center for Electro-Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, said this week Texas broke a new energy record. The state already passed ERCOT's peak demand, which was expected in August.

Beagle said although Texas has exceeded peak value, the grid has kept up so far.

"The fact that the grid has shown that it's able to perform under these high temperatures and with extended periods of high temperatures that we saw in June is definitely encouraging. I should also add that renewables like wind and solar have been doing a big service as well. They've been providing a lot of power to the grid," Beagle said.

However, that could change. Beagle said if ERCOT can't meet the demand, the state could see outages.

"ERCOT usually runs with a reserve margin operating reserves, so they have a set number of plants that are sort of online to act as a buffer in case we do have an outage at a specific plant. They already have plants running with the capacity to kind of quickly be able to make up that difference," Beagle said.

KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube


Monday could rank as one of the hottest days in Austin history

Authorities investigating after fire destroys historic home in Taylor

Police investigating homicide in North Austin

Before You Leave, Check This Out