Jun 15, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Grid operator asks Texans to conserve power amid outages in searing heat

Power lines stretch along along a highway near Alpine, Texas on Saturday, April 10, 2021.

Power lines stretch along along a highway near Alpine, Texas. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Texas' power grid operator has asked people to "reduce electric use as much as possible" until Friday following days of searing heat and a "significant number of forced generation outages."

Why it matters: The request by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) comes months after a deadly winter storm blew out the state's power infrastructure and left millions of Texans without power for days.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) last week signed into law a pair of bills aimed at improving the state's main power grid and reforming the agency.

Details: "A significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June has resulted in tight grid conditions," ERCOT said in a statement Monday.

  • Roughly "12,000 megawatts of generation were offline Monday, or enough to power 2.4 million homes on a hot summer day," per the Texas Tribune, which notes that ERCOT officials called the power plant outages "unexpected."

What they're saying: Woody Rickerson, vice president of ERCOT's grid planning and operations, said in the agency's statement that officials will be "conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service."

  • "This is unusual for this early in the summer season," Rickerson added.
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