The Texas grid operator this weekend asked residents to conserve power after six generators failed.
“We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78-degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers and dryers) during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. through the weekend.” Texas grid operator ERCOT said in a statement.
ERCOT manages electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers and represents 90% of the state’s electric load, according to the company.
Temperatures soared into the 90s with a triple-digit heat index in parts of Texas this weekend.
Power prices spiked after the generators went offline.
The Texas grid operator called on residents to conserve energy Friday after six generation facilities tripped offline amid hot weather, prompting power prices to spike.
The power-plant failures resulted in a loss of about 2,900 megawatts of electricity, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said in an email statement Friday. That’s enough power for about 580,000 homes and businesses. Natural-gas fired plants make up all of the generation that failed, an Ercot spokesman said.
The Texas grid is being stressed by high heat in a potential preview of peak summertime demand. This summer will test whether Ercot has made sufficient changes to reinforce a system that experienced cascading power-plant failures and deadly blackouts during a historic freeze in early 2021.
On Thursday, the Public Utility Commission of Texas expressed concern that generators haven’t had enough time to perform seasonal maintenance ahead of summer. The risk: summertime maintenance amid stronger heat can lead to supply shortages and potentially rolling blackouts.
Last June ERCOT issued a conservation alert and told customers to raise thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off lights, avoid using ovens, washing machines and dryers, and unplug appliances if possible.
ERCOT’s conservation alerts come after the power grid in Texas failed during an unusual cold snap in February 2021.