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ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy for 4th day in a row

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas’ electric grid operator said it expects “tight grid conditions” again Sunday and is asking Texans to reduce energy use from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, said operating reserves are expected to be low Sunday afternoon and evening because of low wind generation, potentially low solar generation and high demand.

This is the fourth consecutive day the electric grid operator has asked Texans to conserve electric use and issued a conservation appeal.

ERCOT said current forecasts show a potential to enter emergency operations Sunday evening.

ERCOT said emergency operations were avoided Saturday because of conservation efforts and additional grid reliability tools. These include using reserve power, asking for reductions from large electric customers that have volunteered to lower energy use and adding more generation online sooner.

The grid operator said it is asking all government agencies to implement programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.

If someone experiences an outage at this time, ERCOT said it is a local outage and “not related to overall grid reliability.”

ERCOT said it has set 10 new all-time peak demand records this summer. The latest record was set Aug. 10 with an unofficial peak demand record of 85,435 MW.

ERCOT alert levels

  • Conservation Alert: This is a voluntary request to reduce electrical use, ERCOT said. While ERCOT said it is not in emergency operations, it asks the public and “all government agencies to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.”
  • Energy Emergency Level 1: Conservation is considered to be critical. We reach this stage when operating reserves drop below 2,300 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes.
  • Emergency Level 2: Triggered when reserves are less than 1,750 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes. At this point, ERCOT can reduce demand on the system by interrupting power from large industrial customers who have contractually agreed to have their electricity turned off during an emergency.
  • Emergency Level 3: The final level hits when reserves drop below 1,430 MW. If operating reserves then drop below 1,000 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, and/or the grid’s frequency level cannot be maintained at 60 Hz, then ERCOT will implement “controlled outages,” also known as rolling blackouts.

ERCOT’s notification system

Anyone who wants to sign up for grid condition notifications via the Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS) can visit the ERCOT website.

ERCOT hopes the TXANS system will help increase transparency and trust, ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas previously said.

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