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ERCOT Says 'Forced Generation Outages,' High Temps Could Spell Issues For Texas Electricity Grid; Urge Conservation

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the governing body that oversees the electric grid in Texas said Monday, June 14 that 'forced generation outages' and High Temps in Texas could stress the electricity grid.

They asked all Texans to reduce electric use as much as possible June 14 through Friday, June 18.

"A significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June has resulted in tight grid conditions," according to a news release.

"We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service," said ERCOT V.P. of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. "This is unusual for this early in the summer season."

According to the release from ERCOT, "Generator owners have reported approximately 11,000 MW (Megawatts) of generation is on forced outage for repairs; of that, approximately 8,000 MW is thermal and the rest is intermittent resources." they said a typical range of thermal outages on hot summer days is around 3,600 MW.

One MW typically powers around 200 homes on a summer day."

Oncor is echoing this call for conservation in its role as the transmission and distribution company, or the poles and wires company that delivers electricity to many Texans. It does not own or operate power generation facilities, or sell, purchase or offer electricity retail services.

Oncor will continue to follow direction from ERCOT and will notify customers once the conservation notice has been lifted.

Officials said that customers can help by taking the following ERCOT conservation steps:

  • Turn off any unnecessary lights and equipment.
  • Turn thermostat up 2 to 3 degrees.
  • Set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home.
  • Use fans to feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler.
  • Limit use of large appliances (i.e., dishwasher, washer, dryer, etc.).
  • If you cook indoors, use a microwave or slow cooker.
  • Close blinds and drapes during late afternoon.
  • Schedule pool pumps to run in the early morning or overnight hours.

"We don't normally have long heatwaves in the month of June - that's a July, August phenomena - some of these generators were caught unawares," said Bernard Weinstein, recently retired associate director SMU Cox School of Business Maguire Energy Institute.

He said  unfortunately, we don't have a lot of spare capacity in the state.

"And sometimes like maybe right now those wind generators in West Texas probably aren't producing a lot of electricity, wind accounts for about 20% of installed capacity in the state. We rely so heavily on renewables, while we have not been investing and gas plants or nuclear plants that are on 24/."

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