Houstonians skeptical of ERCOT's ability to meet demand this summer

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Texas grid: Houston residents are skeptical of ERCOT's ability to meet high demand this summer
ERCOT's request for Houstonians to keep thermostats at 78 degrees was not met without criticism. Partly due to the company's handling of the 2021 Winter Freeze.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Days after the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT asked Houstonians to keep their thermostats at 78 degrees, the grid conditions are running normally.

ERCOT urged customers to conserve energy for a five-hour peak period on Saturday and Sunday due to unseasonably hot weather and six power generation facilities tripping offline.

The request was not met with positivity among residents of the city due to many people still upset at how ERCOT handled the electric grid during the 2021 Winter Freeze.

"I think that's a huge problem, and I'm concerned," said Charles Sapp.

At Memorial Park, Tracy Mitchell echoed that she felt the same way.

"My biggest question would be why?" said Mitchell.

ERCOT's request for citizens to conserve energy wasn't extended during the weekend, but CEO of Energy Ogre, Jesson Bradshaw wasn't surprised by the conservation request.

RELATED: Texans asked to set thermostats to at least 78 degrees during 5-hour peak period Saturday, Sunday

"These power plants and transmission lines have to undertake maintenance every year, so this is just getting out of the maintenance season," said Bradshaw. "We had this situation where we had a pretty high temperature and demand with a lot of our infrastructure out on maintenance."

Bradshaw acknowledged the frustrations with ERCOT but said Houston has dealt with similar conservation requests for years.

He also said turning your thermostat up isn't the only way to conserve energy throughout the summer months.

RELATED:Former ERCOT vice chair explains what actually went wrong during February 2021 freeze

"Unplug things you don't use anymore," Bradshaw said. "It makes sense to go through from time to time and figure out what kinds of things we aren't using anymore."

ERCOT released a report on Monday that states they should be able to keep up with demand from June through September, but that's the case under "normal system conditions."

The same report said that ERCOT expects peak-demand records this summer.

ABC13 will be in Austin on Tuesday to ask ERCOT how they plan to keep your lights on despite a prediction of record demand.

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