After months of backlash following February’s unprecedented winter storm, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT is asking for Texans to conserve energy in the wake of what appears to be another hot summer in the Lone Star State.
The company wants Texans to reduce their energy consumption until at least Friday (June 18) to avoid the risk of the state’s power grid falling short of demand. In February, the grid’s collapse were prompted by a winter storm which may have killed up to 700 people.
According to ERCOT, a significant number of power plant outages combined with the expected record use of electricity due to hot weather has resulted in tight grid conditions. Approximately 11,000 megawatts of generation is offline for repairs, or the equivalent of energy capacity to power 2.2 million homes on a hot summer day.
Of the plants offline, about 8,000 megawatts of power, or more than 70 percent of the outages, are from thermal power sources. In Texas, those are largely natural gas-fired power plants. The number is more than double what ERCOT usually sees offline for thermal generation maintenance during a summer day. Typically, only near 3,600 megawatts of thermal generation is offline during this time of year.
“This is unusual for this early in the summer season,” Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, said in a statement.
Currently, ERCOT wants Texans to reduce electricity use by setting the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher. Additionally, Texans can turn off lights and pool pumps, avoid the use of large appliances such as ovens, washing machines and dryers, and turning off or unplugging unused electric appliances.
The state likely won’t require companies to make weatherization upgrades until 2022 at the earliest.