Texas residents told to cut electricity use Monday or face potential for rolling blackouts

Texans are nervous about ERCOT's ability to meet demand following deadly outages during 2021's Winter Storm Uri, which left millions without power.

click to enlarge ERCOT personnel model the Texas electrical grid in a file photo. - Courtesy of ERCOT
Courtesy of ERCOT
ERCOT personnel model the Texas electrical grid in a file photo.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), operator of Texas' standalone electric power grid, urged residents to cut their power usage Monday or face risk of rolling blackouts.

The state faces a "potential reserve capacity shortage with no market solution available," ERCOT said in an operating notice picked up by news service Reuters. However, ERCOT said it doesn't expect system-wide outages.

Nonpartisan political news site Quorum Report said "multiple sources confirm a high possibility" of rolling blackouts from 2-6 p.m. for the next three days. The site noted that heavy industrial power users have been advised to be ready to shut down if needed.

More than half of Texas is under a heat advisory or warning on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures over most the state are expected to hit over 100 degrees, including as high as 108 degrees in San Antonio, the government predicts.

On its website, ERCOT said Monday's demand is likely to surpass a record 79 gigawatts. It asked Texans to dial up their thermostats and put off running major appliances from 2-8 p.m.. ERCOT also urged large customers to slash their usage.

Texans are nervous about ERCOT's ability to meet demand following the deadly outages of 2021's Winter Storm Uri. That near collapse of the grid left millions without power for days and forced speculation that the state's grid — which operates independent of those supplying the rest of the country — is at a breaking point. 

During its last session, the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature passed new rules aimed at stabilizing the grid. However, critics charge that the new rules don't go far enough to address climate change and lack enforcement authority, essentially making them meaningless.

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