Why ERCOT asked Texans to conserve power, again

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Two months after a winter storm left millions of Texans without power for days, the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) once again asked people to conserve power.

After the February events, most Texans hoped to never hear those words again.

Tweet from ERCOT asking to https://twitter.com/ERCOT_ISO/status/1382086798063583234

So, why did the organization have to ask Texans to cut back during a 4-hour window from 4:42 p.m. until 8:40 p.m.?

Ryan Greenfeld, Public Relations Manager for the Brownsville Public Utility Board (BPUB), explains it had to do with a cold front sweeping through Texas on Wednesday.

“What happened was when that cold front stalled, there were other areas in Texas that ended up being warmer than they anticipated which meant there was more electricity being used,” said Greenfeld.

This time Texas didn’t see widespread power outages like it did in February.

Wednesday’s cold front temperatures were much higher than they were during the February storm, according to ERCOT.

However, Greenfeld mentioned another factor contributed toward the April 13 call for conservation.

“Throughout Texas, there were several power plants that were down for maintenance,” he said.

Spring in Texas has relatively mild weather compared to Winter and Summer, so utility companies make the most of it.

The cold front came at a time when the available electrical production was lower than it would usually be.

“A lot of utilities are trying to make sure that their power plants are completely repaired, completely operational for when the summer hits,” Greenfeld explained.

The tweet saying conservation had ended

The request to conserve energy lasted less than four hours and ended at the end of the peak hours listed on the ERCOT website.

While something like what happened back in February most likely won’t happen again anytime soon, more calls to conserve energy could happen.

“Hot Texas summers, our demand is always extremely high. So there’s always going to be the chance that something like that could happen,” said Greenfeld.

The Public Utility Commission, which regulates ERCOT, still has two vacant seats on its commissioner’s board. Governor Greg Abbott is responsible for filling those vacancies.

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