June 17, 2021

Texans fearing outages rush to purchase generators as grid operator urges electricity conservation

Texans fearing outages rush to purchase generators as grid operator urges electricity conservation


Texans scared of summer power outages are reportedly rushing to purchase generators.

According to a report from Fox 7, local hardware shops and manufacturers alike are seeing an exponential increase in demand for the machines.

The Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week that electricians say there is a backlog of customers waiting to have them installed.

This comes as the state’s grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has urged residents to conserve energy amid sweltering heat and the beginning of hurricane season.

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Record-breaking high temperatures have threatened the western U.S. over the past week and the city of Austin hit triple digits for the first time in 2021 earlier this week.

In a statement, ERCOT reported that the state had set a new record for the most electricity ever used in the month of June, at around 73,000 megawatts.

The grid’s total generating capacity is nearly 87,000 megawatts but on Monday afternoon more than 12,000 megawatts unexpectedly went offline — an incident ERCOT’s vice president of grid planning and operations Woody Rickerson called “unusual” for so early in the summer season.

That measurement was enough energy to power 2.4 million homes.

Notably, more than 4 million Texans were left without power during February’s deadly winter storms, exposing power supply issues and also upping generator sales

In response, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed bills into law last week that require the weatherization of power generation facilities, natural gas facilities and transmission facilities and ensure that ERCOT improves communication between state agencies and the industry during storms.

The bill also “significantly” reforms ERCOT, with state politicians playing a larger role in deciding who sits on its board.

Although some energy experts have criticized the reforms, Fox 7 said Abbott told reporters on Wednesday that the “electric grid in Texas is better today than it’s ever been” and assured that repairs had been made and ERCOT “should be prepared to go into the summer fully capable of meeting demands.”

Since reporting “tight grid conditions” after a “significant number of forced generation outages,” ERCOT said that Texas residents had been compliant with requests and “responded strongly by reducing electric demand during the late afternoon.”

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Nevertheless, the agency noted that the need for conservation during peak hours – between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT – would still extend through Friday. 

ERCOT is urging residents to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances in order to help mitigate the risk.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.





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