“Energy Emergency” – Texas Power Provider Warns Of Rotating Outages As Cold Weather Tests Limits Of Grid
With the situation in Texas doing from bad to worse:
Weather forecast models suggest the polar vortex will continue pouring Arctic air into much of the central US through Feb. 20. This means nat gas prices could rise even higher early next week as electricity demand continues to soar over the weekend as Americans crank up their thermostats and watch Netflix shows or mine Bitcoin.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use as much as possible Sunday, Feb. 14 through Tuesday, Feb. 16.
“We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.
“At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units. We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time.”
Here are some tips to reduce electricity use:
- Turn down thermostats to 68-degrees.
- Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
- Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).
- Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
- Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
- Given the prolonged, below-freezing temperatures, conservation measures should be implemented safely and within reason.
ERCOT has the tools and procedures in place to maintain a reliable electric system during tight grid conditions. If power reserves drop too low, ERCOT may need to declare an Energy Emergency Alert, or EEA. Declaring an EEA allows the grid operator to take advantage of additional resources that are only available during scarcity conditions.
There are three levels of EEA, and rotating outages are only implemented as a last resort to maintain reliability of the electric system.
As one Houston energy trader so eloquently explained, Texas electricity customers are about to get “lubelessly pounded” as prices explode:
Scary as shit surge…