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ERCOT expecting tight grid conditions, requesting conservation

Posted at 5:55 PM, Sep 07, 2023

MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas — ERCOT issued an energy emergency alert Level 2 on Wednesday night for the first time since the freeze in February of 2021.

The alert came after ERCOT’s reserves dropped below 1,750 megawatts, and weren’t expected to recover within 30 minutes.

Texans are being asked to conserve their energy usage until 9 p.m on Thursday as reserves are expected to be low.

“I’ve paid for my electricity. I’ve got a fixed rate plan. It should be here when I want it,” said Energy Economics Professor at the University of Houston, Ed Hirsch.

ERCOT is expecting tight grid conditions as temperatures and energy demand remain high.

Hirsch says Texans saw a Level 2 energy conservation alert from ERCOT on Wednesday for a multitude of reasons.

“Electricity from wind was down — probably 50 percent below what they expected it to be," Hirsch said.

"We’ve had a coal plant go offline in the last few days, and we’ve had a number of natural gas and power plants break down also."

Hirsch says potential outages are just a reminder the grid hasn’t been fixed. He hopes ERCOT would implement rotating blackouts instead of having a systemic failure.

“Under a rotating blackout, if you’re one of the unlucky ones, you’ll be a part of 1,000 meters or 10,000 meters that are turned of for 45 minutes to an hour before that rotates to another unlucky part of the Texas consumers."

“If you have medical needs, please contact your local electric utility and have a backup plan in case power reductions, or controlled outages are needed later," ERCOT said in a statement.

ERCOT says they are expecting similar conditions on Friday.

“Consumers are worried, especially those who are elderly and live in homes that aren’t well insulated, or are those that are on life support equipment, this is a matter of life or death for them,” Hirsch said.

More information on energy-saving tips can be found here.