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State power grid operator calls on Texans to conserve energy late Sunday

The state's grid operator issued its third conservation request of the year to the public on Sunday amid a blazing Texas summer that has seen temperatures top 100 degrees for weeks.
REUTERS/Joshua Lott

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The state’s electric grid operator is asking Texans to limit their power use on Sunday between 7 and 10 p.m., the second such request in three days as extreme heat continues to grip the state.

Residents can reduce electricity use by turning up their thermostat a degree or two, turning off lights and holding off on running large appliances like washing machines and dryers.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said the request was spurred by “extreme temperatures, continued high demand & unexpected loss of thermal generation” — in Texas, thermal power sources are largely natural-gas-powered plants.

The request does not mean the grid is in emergency conditions. ERCOT asks for voluntary conservation when conditions look tight. On Sunday, it was forecasting demand would nearly reach the grid’s supply capacity between 8 and 9 p.m.

This is the third call for energy conservation ERCOT has made this summer.

Extreme heat and high electricity demand have tested the state’s grid this summer as Texans crank up their air conditioning amid days of triple-digit heat. Extreme temperatures are worsened by climate change, which makes heat waves last longer and reach higher temperatures than they would otherwise.