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Texas power grid survives yet another close call as ERCOT emergency expires

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A general view of electric lines as demand for power surges during a period of hot weather in Houston, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2023.

Due to low power reserves Wednesday evening, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2.

That means there was a risk of controlled outages as the state struggled to keep up with the demand for electricity. However, the Emergency Alert Level 2 expired at 9pm and ERCOT said conditions have returned to normal.

ERCOT has issued several calls for voluntary conservation this summer, with Wednesday's emergency alert being the most serious.

"At Level 2, ERCOT can reduce demand and ERCOT has 3 Energy Emergency Alert Levels. At Level 3 ERCOT may use controlled rotating outages as a last resort to protect the grid," said a statement from San Antonio's CPS Energy.

An ERCOT Weather Watch remains in effect through Sept. 8th and energy conservation is still encouraged. Steps to help reduce electricity use include:

  • Set thermostats two to three degrees higher during the peak hours of 3:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home.
  • Use fans to feel four to six degrees cooler.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.)
  • Schedule pool pumps to run in the early morning or overnight hours; shut off between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
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