An NBC 5 investigation shows how ERCOT severely underestimated the amount of electricity Texans would need if the weather got bad this winter, and why some experts fear that big miss raises deeper questions about ERCOT’s forecasting methods and the risk of power outages this summer.
Watch “POWERLESS” episode #5 now, streaming on Apple TV & Roku
By mid-June Texans were already facing concerns about electricity shortages, prompting ERCOT to issue an unprecedented week-long warning to conserve power.
At the start of the summer, ERCOT said there should be no reason to worry about outages during the hot stern outages this summer.
But the last time ERCOT assured Texans there would be enough power was before the winter. And then came the devastating power crisis of February 2021.
In February, a massive number of power generators unexpectedly shut down, something ERCOT said it never imagined would happen. But that’s only one part of how they got it wrong this winter. Records also show power demand during the February storm far exceeded even ERCOT’s worst-case scenario forecast for the winter season, raising concerns about whether ERCOT’s forecasting error led the grid operator to underestimate the risks ahead of the storm.
Now in this episode of “Powerless” NBC5 Investigates learns how better forecasting models might help Texas predict electric demand more accurately and identify scenarios that could put the power grid under severe stress.
Digital Series: Powerless
Digital Series: Powerless
Other Reports From NBC 5 Investigates
- ERCOT Vows to Investigate Early Summer Power Plant Breakdowns (June 15)
- What Texas Lawmakers Did (And Did Not Do) to Address the Power Crisis (June 1)
- Texas at ‘Elevated Risk' of Summer Power Shortages, Potential Outages, Regulators Warn (May 27)
- NBC 5 Investigates: How Texas Wind Power Could Work Better in Cold Weather (May 20)
- NBC 5 Investigates How Colder States Avoid Winter Blackouts (May 12)
- NBC 5 Investigates Which Power Plants Left Texans Powerless in February (April 29)
- ERCOT Had Concerns About Power Supplies Before Tuesday's Conservation Alert (April 15)
- Texas Power Conservation Alert Raises Alarm Across Texas (April 14)
- NBC 5 Investigates: U.S. Senate Probes Texas Power Outages (March 12)
- Texas Speaker Unveils Plan to Prevent Repeat of State's Energy Crisis (March 9)
- Many Power Plants Didn't Meet Winter Recommendations in Past Seasons (March 5)
- Lawmakers Grill ERCOT CEO on First Day of Power Crisis Hearings (Feb. 26)
- ERCOT: Texas Was 4 Minutes and 37 Seconds Away From a Blackout That Could Have Lasted Months (Feb. 25)
- Abbott Calls for Laws to Prevent Power Crisis Repeat (Feb. 25)
- ERCOT Messages Reveal Actions Prior to Massive Power Outage (Feb. 20)
- Customers Say Oncor's ‘Rolling Outage' Message Left Them Confused, Angry (Feb. 19)
- ERCOT CEO Defends Actions Leading Up to Winter Storm, Record Outages (Feb. 19)
- Federal Regulators Plan to Investigate Massive Texas Power Outage (Feb. 18)
- ERCOT Didn't Conduct On-Site Inspections of Power Plants to Verify Winter Preparedness (Feb. 18)
- What Happened to ‘the Energy Capital of the World' During This Winter Event? (Feb. 16)
- Power Outages and Texas Electric Emergency Explained (Feb. 15)