Power grid normal after Energy Emergency Wednesday, tight conditions return Thursday

ERCOT orders EEA 2 for the first time since 2021 -- dashboard shows tight conditions again Thursday

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Grid conditions have returned to normal after ERCOT issued a Level 2 Energy Emergency Alert Wednesday night due to lower power reserves. With triple-digit heat and less wind, tight conditions are expected again Thursday afternoon and evening that could lead to an energy emergency.

Wednesday evening, ERCOT entered the second level of emergency operations and issued an Energy Emergency Alert 2 (EEA 2) for the first time since 2021.

Businesses and residents, including city and county offices, were urged to "safely reduce electric use" as it is critical. This was due to extreme temperatures, expected low wind power, and potential low solar generation.

Without conservation, the next step would have been possible 'load shedding' or rolling blackouts. 

ERCOT moved out of emergency operations and returned to normal Wednesday night, although the Weather Watch issued earlier this week remains in effect through Sept. 8.

New on Thursday, ERCOT's Supply and Demand dashboard again showed a narrowing between supply and demand for the afternoon with the demand exceeding supply after 7 p.m. ERCOT has not yet issued a call for conservation Thursday but the potential is there for action to be taken.

Energy specialists were watching the situation closely on Wednesday. NBC 5 spoke to Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston who said a combination of ingredients led to the Level 2 alert on Wednesday.

“The reason we’re here today is the wind has dropped down a bit. Everyone knows the hottest days in Texas are those when the wind doesn’t blow,” Hirs said. “Number two, we had power plants break. It doesn’t take but two or three to break to put us into a deficit situation.”

Hirs said reducing the demand on the grid by just 1 or 2% can help get us through a couple of hours in a Level 2 emergency. Still, he said the condition of the state’s power generators is a major concern.

“These things have a tendency to break, and we’ve been running them pretty well constantly since the beginning of May.”

ERCOT has several different Energy Emergency Alert levels or EEAs. After Normal Grid Conditions, the levels are Conservation Alert level, then EEA 1, 2, and 3.

Here’s what the alert levels mean:

  • Conservation Alert: This is a voluntary request to reduce electrical use, ERCOT said. While ERCOT said it is not in emergency operations, it asks the public and “all government agencies to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.”
  • Energy Emergency Level 1: Conservation is considered to be critical. We reach this stage when operating reserves drop below 2,300 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes.
  • Emergency Level 2: Triggered when reserves are less than 1,750 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes. At this point, ERCOT can reduce demand on the system by interrupting power from large industrial customers who have contractually agreed to have their electricity turned off during an emergency.
  • Emergency Level 3: The final level hits when reserves drop below 1,430 MW. If operating reserves then drop below 1,000 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes and/or the grid’s frequency level cannot be maintained at 60 Hz, then ERCOT will implement “controlled outages,” also known as rolling blackouts.

What can I do to help?

ERCOT is asking Texans to take simple power conservation steps to reduce demand on the grid.

  • Raise the thermostat by a degree or two, if safe to do so.
  • Avoid using large appliances like washers and dryers.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight instead of peak hours.

Why the Request to Reduce Usage?

  • Heat. Continued statewide high temperatures.
  • Demand. Texas is seeing high demand due to the heat.
  • Solar. Solar generation starts to decline earlier in the afternoon hours towards the end of summer before completely going offline at sunset.
  • Wind. Wind generation is forecasted to be low this evening during peak demand time.

The PUCT's Power to Save website has tips for reducing electricity use in homes and businesses and other energy-saving tips are available at TXANS (

Peak Demand

  • ERCOT set a new, all-time, unofficial peak demand record of 85,435 MW on August 10, 2023.
  • ERCOT set a new all-time September peak demand record of 81,674 MW on September 5, 2023, surpassing the previous September peak of 78,459 MW set on September 4.
  • This summer, ERCOT has set 10 new all-time peak demand records
  • Last summer, ERCOT set 11 new peak demand records with a high of 80,148 MW on July 20.

Consumer Assistance

  • Public Utility Commission of Texas Hotline: 1-888-782-8477

To Stay Up to Date

  • Sign up for TXANS notifications on the TXANS
  • Download the ERCOT Mobile App for additional notifications: iOSAndroid.
  • Monitor real-time and extended conditions at
  • Subscribe to ERCOT Emergency Alerts which are not sent through TXANS notifications.
  • Follow ERCOT on Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO), Facebook (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), and LinkedIn (ERCOT).
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