ERCOT CEO says agency will do everything it can to keep power on amid freezing temperatures

Texans were once again asked to keep conserving electricity on Tuesday as the weather is expected to get even colder.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Any rolling outages amid freeze should be short-lived, ERCOT says
Experts say if you encounter an outage, it may be due to the elements around you and not necessarily due to an overloaded power grid. Still, they also urge you to take precautions.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Due to continued freezing temperatures, Texans are being asked to keep conserving energy until Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, issued a Conservation Appeal and asked residents to hold power specifically between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Tuesday if it is safe to do so.

Monday and Tuesday were declared ABC13 Weather Alert Days due to the freezing rain. Temperatures are forecasted to be colder Monday evening and into Tuesday morning.

ABC13's Nick Natario spoke to ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas during our streaming newscast about what people can expect to see on Tuesday as the cold intensifies.

"So (Tuesday) morning, the temperatures are going to be a little bit colder, and it's also not a holiday," he said. "So Martin Luther King day, a lot of folks are not going to school - some people have off of work, and so what we saw (Monday) was the demand spread out as people got up over a little bit longer period of time. On a regular workday, that typically happens at a much more similar time across the state, and so that has the potential to drive a lot more demand. So we're asking folks if they can help us out like they did (Monday)."

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: ERCOT orders Texans to conserve electricity ahead of harsh winter weather expected on Monday

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When asked if residents should expect to see rolling power outages on Tuesday, Vegas said the agency will do everything it can to keep the power on.

"The risk is always elevated when you have extreme weather events like this, and this is one of the coldest winter weather events that Texas has experienced," Vegas said.

But if there have to be outages, Vegas said they are not expecting it to be anything like in February 2021, where people were without power for days.

"No, we would never expect to go through another event like what happened a few years ago," he said. "We've been working over the last couple of years with all the different transmission utility companies that serve individual Texans throughout the state to come up with ways that we could roll out outages on a much more frequent basis in order to make sure nobody is without power for too long."

Vegas added that school delays or cancellations and businesses working remotely could potentially help spread out the peak demand in the morning.

Adjusting your thermostat and minimizing the use of lights could also be a big help, Vegas added.

Full interview: ERCOT CEO weighs on Tuesday's energy outlook

ERCOT is asking residents to keep conserving electricity on Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. amid continued freezing weather in the Houston area.

Vegas said an all-time winter record was set Monday morning, and they expect to hit another Monday night and Tuesday morning.

The agency said if you are experiencing an outage, that it is local in nature and not related to grid reliability.

"I am confident that we have done everything possible to make sure that the power is going to stay on, and with a little bit of help from Texans with conservation, I believe we can get through this like we got through it (Monday)," Vegas said.

RELATED: Weather Alert: Winter Weather Advisory issued as freezing rain, sleet, and snow falls