Rolling blackouts avoided, but energy conservation urged during cold snap

Photo courtesy of ERCOT

Operators monitor the electrical grid in the ERCOT control room. Photo courtesy of ERCOT

Special to the Current

Conditions on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid have returned to normal, but conservation is still needed as cold weather continues to cause a high demand for power.

Demand for electricity today reached 55,486 MW in the hour leading up to 8 a.m. today. ERCOT issued an Energy Emergency Alert and implemented demand response programs through some entities, which contract with ERCOT to reduce their electric use when needed.

“Cold weather will continue through tomorrow morning, and we will continue to monitor conditions closely,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations, in a news release. “Consumers are encouraged to use electricity wisely, and a conservation alert remains in effect throughout the ERCOT region.”

The National Weather Service in North Texas reported “bitterly cold” conditions Monday morning with wind chills in the single digits.

The forecast calls for very cold conditions again tonight, with a low around 15, and a wind chill of 9 to 19 Tuesday morning.

A gradual warm-up should begin late Tuesday, with a high near 47, and continue through the end of the week, the weather service said.

Although rotating outages are not anticipated today, ERCOT will continue to monitor conditions closely. Unexpected major losses of generation could force operators to proceed with additional emergency procedures to avoid an uncontrolled statewide blackout.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers — representing 85 percent of the state”s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units.

ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 6.7 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.

ERCOT”s members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipal-owned electric utilities.

For more information about Energy Emergency Alerts, view the ERCOT Energy Emergency Alert Communications Matrix

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