Arctic blast threatens power grid, critics weigh in

Posted at 7:53 PM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 20:53:56-05

WACO, Texas — ERCOT says they expect to meet forecasted demand from the arctic blast coming later this week.

We know ERCOT made changes to the grid following the arctic blast of 2021. One of ERCOT’s critics, Ed Hirs power fellow with the University of Houston, tells us only time will tell how mandated improvements have helped.

After the arctic blast in 2021 left millions of Texans without power and some dead, ERCOT-mandated power grids and natural gas providers weatherize for future extreme weather events.

ERCOT said Friday they expect enough power to meet demands as temperatures get into the low 20s. Hirs says we’ll have to wait to see.

“Any extreme weather event is certainly a test; in the old days, we didn’t have to worry about this. But I think every one of us is a little cautious because of the experience in February 2021,” said Hirs.

Hirs said ERCOT’s planning document released in November did not plan for any major weather event, leaving the reliability of the grid system in limbo as to if the grid will have power for the increased number of people Texas has now.

“We won’t know until we get through the arctic blast, I mean they tell us it's there but keep in mind their planning document which was released in November did not plan for a winter event equal to February of 2021,” Hirs said.

Being prepared is the best advice having adequate shelter, perishable foods, and placing generators outside if you need them.

A few tips to carry you through the cold include protecting people, pets, plants, and pipes. These are the 4 P’s you should keep top of mind.

ERCOT encourages people to conserve power by turning their thermostats to 68 degrees.