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Friday, July 30, 2021

Texas Energy Crisis Rages On As ERCOT Begs Users To Reduce Electricity During Near-Record Temps

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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the electricity grid operator for the state that left millions without power during record-low temperatures at the beginning of 2021, is asking customers to reduce their electricity use this week after rising concerns that there could be another wave of outages.

This time, any potential outages would take power away from people in some parts of the state who are seeing temperatures soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ Texans will lose power this summer. It’s ‘when,” Jason Isaac, Director of Life:Powered at the Texas Public Policy Foundation told The Federalist. “Conservation alerts being issued this early and often doesn’t bode well for the rest of the summer — and they’re more evidence of the systemic weakness in our grid caused by decades of poor policy decisions favoring unreliable sources of electricity.”

In an announcement released on Monday, ERCOT asked its customers to take “simple actions” such as raising their thermostat to “78 degrees or higher,” turning off lights, unplugging anything that is not being used, and “avoiding large appliances like ovens, washing machines, and dryers” to lessen the power grid load after “a significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June has resulted in tight grid conditions.”

While wind power is still available for use, ERCOT noted that wind output is below the normal threshold needed to combat “peak conditions” and blackouts could be in the future. 

Lubbock, Texas, one of the cities seeing temperatures as high as 108 during the day, switched 70 percent of its electricity customers over to ERCOT two weeks ago in the “largest single transfer of customers in the history of the” grid operator. Despite ERCOT’s failure to keep Texans warm during the freak winter storm which resulted in at least 151 deaths, the city chose to continue the 2015 plan to join the power grid once their previous contract expired. The city remained confident in its decision to “allow Lubbock residents to have access to a deregulated power market” even after pushback

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