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Texans Asked to Conserve Energy as Deep Freeze Strains Grid

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking Texas residents and businesses to conserve electricity on Monday morning as the cold snap in the state and much of the United States is straining power supply.

“ERCOT has issued a Conservation Appeal for today, Jan. 15, from 6 – 10 a.m. CT due to continued freezing temperatures, record-breaking demand, and unseasonably low wind,” the operator of the Texas grid said.  

“We ask that Texas businesses and residents conserve electricity use, if safe to do so.”  

The Public Utility Commission of Texas on Sunday echoed the call from ERCOT asking Texans to conserve electricity use, if safe to do so, from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. CT, Monday, January 15.

“Due to continued freezing temperatures, very high demand and unseasonably low wind, operating reserves for the Texas power grid are expected to be low Monday morning, Jan. 15, before sunrise. ERCOT is expecting similar conditions on Tuesday, Jan. 16,” PUCT said in a statement.

At the time of the PUCT appeal for conservation on Sunday, “ERCOT is not experiencing emergency conditions at this time,” the commission said.

Last week, ERCOT issued a weather watch until January 17, expecting very low temperatures in the Arctic blast that swept through Texas from the north. Snow conditions in North Texas in the Dallas area have already led to traffic trouble, flight cancelations, power outages, and medical emergencies.

Demand for electricity in Texas, the state with the biggest gas output and the largest wind generation capacity is seen reaching 85.56 gigawatts (GW) on Tuesday, according to federal energy data, cited by Reuters. Supply, meanwhile, could fall short of that by 1 GW, ERCOT has estimated.

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ERCOT and Texans will hope to avoid a repeat of the February 2021 Arctic blast, which left hundreds of thousands of people without power for an extended period of time.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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