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After six power plants unexpectedly failed Friday — and with hot weather expected across Texas this weekend — the Texas Electricity Reliability Board on Friday evening is asking consumers to conserve electricity through Sunday.
Texans are told to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. this weekend and to avoid using large appliances in the home during those same times.
A spokesperson for ERCOT, which operates the state’s mains electricity grid, told The Texas Tribune that he does not expect a blackout this weekend.
Texas Power Grid FAQ
What did the legislature do to reform the electricity network after the February crisis?
Senate Bills 2 and 3 included some major changes to the grid that experts said would begin to address some of the issues, such as requiring power companies to upgrade stations to withstand more severe weather and creating a statewide emergency alert system. The legislation also changes how the Texas Board of Directors’ Electrical Reliability is appointed.
What more could the legislature do to fix the grid?
Energy experts say lawmakers could have passed legislation to pay consumers to reduce electricity use or help Texans better insulate their homes and reduce their electricity use. Nor did lawmakers provide direct aid to people affected by the February crisis.
What should I do to conserve electricity?
ERCOT said Texans can reduce electricity use during the summer by reducing electricity use during the late afternoon hours, when demand usually peaks. You can do this by setting the thermostat to 78 degrees (or a level that is safe for you); turn off lights and pumps for swimming pools; Avoid using large appliances such as ovens, washers, and dryers; Turn off or disconnect unused electrical appliances.
ERCOT did not say why the plants were unexpectedly disrupted. The agency said all backup capacity was running to support the grid.
The power plant failure resulted in the loss of about 2,900 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power more than 580,000 homes.
Power grids must keep supply and demand in balance at all times. When the Texas network drops below its margin of safety from oversupply, the network operator begins taking extra precautions to avoid blackouts. The first precaution is to ask the public to cut off electricity use.
April and May are referred to as the “shoulder months” in the energy world. This is the time of year when power plants stop working for necessary maintenance and other repairs before the hot summer months.
However, ERCOT has recently asked several power generation companies to defer servicing their equipment until the grid can keep up with hotter-than-normal temperatures recently, which in turn increases energy demand when Texans turn on their air conditioners.
An ERCOT spokesperson said Friday’s power plant outage was unrelated to recent maintenance delays.
While it is not uncommon for power grid operators to require consumers to cut back on electricity use as a precaution, many Texans clearly remember February 2021when millions of people were without power for days in near-freezing temperatures after a combination of cold weather across the state and surging demand for energy shut down power plants as well as natural gas facilities that supplies them with fuel. hundreds of Persons Die.
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