ERCOT issues another conservation appeal Wednesday afternoon as triple-digit temperatures continue

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Thursday, July 14, 2022
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ERCOT is asking Texans to cut back on their energy use on Wednesday after a heat wave across Texas drives record high power demand.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As a heat wave persists across Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas sent out a second request this week asking Texans to cut back on their energy use on Wednesday.

ERCOT, the state's power grid operator, is urging Texans and businesses to conserve energy on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., as Wednesday's temperatures heat up to a high of 102 degrees. This ties a Houston record set in 1980.

Still, officials said they do not anticipate any system-wide outages. But why the need to conserve power?

Our partners at Climate Central have been looking at how much generation has come from wind power alone. A forecast showed that on Tuesday, 6.2 million homes were powered, but only 4 million homes were powered on Wednesday.

Even ABC13 experienced power outages at the station as Chief Meteorologist Travis Herzog explained how hot it is here in Houston. Not once but twice, Herzog was left in the dark in the middle of a newscast on Wednesday.

But that's not the only issue.

Natural gas is the major source of most of the power, and we know a significant amount of gas power is offline on Wednesday.

SEE RELATED STORY: Mayor Turner asks city departments to prepare for worst-case scenario of power grid failure

Wednesday's conditions are very similar to Monday's, which is when ERCOT issued its first conservation appeal. That day, Texans and businesses helped ERCOT successfully meet record power demand by reducing their energy by 500 megawatts, according to the company.

ERCOT estimated the total forecasted demand to be 78,451 megawatts.

Power grids must keep supply and demand in balance at all times. When Texas' grid falls below its safety margin of excess supply, the grid operator takes additional precautions to avoid blackouts. The first precaution is asking the public to reduce electricity usage.

Climate change has made Texas heat both hotter and longer lasting. The average daily minimum and maximum temperatures in Texas have both increased by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 125 years. The state just saw its hottest December on record since 1889.

"ERCOT encourages all electric customers to visit the Public Utility Commission's (PUC) Power to Save or their electric provider's websites to get important conservation tips. According to the PUC, ways to reduce electricity use during peak times include turning up your thermostat a degree or two, if comfortable, and postponing running major appliances or pool pumps during the requested timeframe," the company said in a release.

SEE RELATED STORY: ERCOT issues conservation appeal to Texans and Texas businesses

WATCH: 'Not fair': Houstonians say they shouldn't have to sit in the heat