ERCOT Urges Conservation During Chill

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is urging Texans to reduce electric use through noon on Friday.

“With the cold weather that began last night, we already saw electric demand close to our winter record this morning,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations. “We are expecting cold weather to continue through tomorrow morning’s high demand period, and some generation capacity has become unavailable due to limitations to natural gas supplies.”

ERCOT peak demand Thursday morning exceeded 57,000 megawatts (MW) and could reach or break its 57,277 MW record before the current winter weather leaves the region, ERCOT said in a news release.

Early Thursday morning, temperatures dipped into the teens or below with windchills in the single digits while up to an inch of snow fell across North Texas.

On Friday, "slushy roads will re-freeze as temperatures stay in the teens and 20s overnight. There will be a weak weather system that moves through Texas on Friday with a chance of flurries in north Texas, and perhaps a light winter mix farther south," according to NBC 5 meteorologist Rick Mitchell.

ERCOT said Thursday that consumers can help ensure the system is able to continue serving current power needs by taking the following steps to reduce demand on the system tonight and tomorrow morning: 

  • Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable, preferably no higher than 68 degrees.
  • Turn off and unplug nonessential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours (6-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.).
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing nonessential production processes.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

 “This is a precautionary measure to help ensure we can maintain overall reliability through this high-demand period,” said Woodfin.

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