HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Just before noon Wednesday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas sent out a second request this week asking Texans to cut back energy use. Then, just minutes after ABC13 went on air for Eyewitness News at 3 p.m., Chief Meteorologist Travis Herzog gave his weather report in the dark.
ERCOT's conservation appeal asked Texans and businesses to raise thermostats and avoid running major appliances from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday. This came after the company's first conservation appeal of the week on Monday.
"We can all help protect our critical infrastructure by doing our part," a tweet from CenterPoint Energy said in part.
Why the need to conserve power?
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.
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 Wednesday.
ABC13's power went off the electricity grid during the 3 p.m. newscast Wednesday, just as Chief Meteorologist Travis Herzog was explaining the triple-digit temperatures in Houston and warning of potential outages.
Our generator kicked in, but, the lights turned off again during our Live at 5 P.M. newscast, as the power went back onto the grid.
"It did it again?" Travis said with a chuckle.
The video of Travis' weather report has since been shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media.
"We had just been looking at how close the supply and demand lines were on the ERCOT grid. As you know, the show must go on. Nobody told me to stop talking, so I just assumed that people could hear me," Travis laughed. "I guess I was just in the wrong place at the right time."
The outage appears to have been isolated. No major outages were reported.
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.