City of Houston preparing for grid concerns after ERCOT asks residents and businesses to conserve power

City of Houston preparing for grid concerns after ERCOT asks residents and businesses to conserve power

Published July 11, 2022
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HOUSTON — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s electric grid, is asking residents and businesses to voluntarily conserve power Monday afternoon and into the evening due to the extreme heat.

Extreme high temperatures are expected to create record demand for electricity across Texas, according to Reliant Energy.

ERCOT issued an appeal on Sunday night for energy conservation on Monday, from 2 to 8 p.m.

ERCOT also issued a watch for a “projected reserve capacity shortage” during that timeframe. ERCOT said it does not anticipate system-wide outages.

ERCOT budgets in a “reserve” amount of electricity that it can rely on in case demand exceeds supply.

The City of Houston is also on alert in case of power grid problems. In a tweet, Mayor Sylvester Turner sent out shortly after ERCOT issued that energy conservation appeal saying the city’s fire, police and other agencies are preparing by checking fuel and operational generators.

I have asked all City departments to prepare in case the state’s power grid fails during extreme heat tomorrow. @HoustonOEM, @houstonpolice, @HoustonFire, and other departments are checking fuel and operational generators. #txwx #txlege

The six-hour window on Monday with not enough reserve could create an Energy Emergency Alert, ERCOT said, which is a series of emergency procedures the grid operator enacts when operating reserves drop below specified levels. Those procedures are designed to protect the reliability of the electric system as a whole and prevent an uncontrolled system-wide outage, ERCOT said.

RELATED: Interactive map | Check power outages across the state

This appeal comes during a time that the ERCOT is dealing with a high demand for energy from across the state. On Sunday, the peak demand landed at more than 77,000 mega-watts and that demand could exceed 80,000 today.

ERCOT said the record demands this summer are due to the triple-digit temperatures across the state.

Problems caused by both extreme heat and strong thunderstorms that rolled through the area left more than 30,000 CenterPoint customers without power.

Majority of those outages have been resolved. At last check, that number is now down to less than 6,000 customers but with these scorching temps, being without power for even a short period of time can be extremely dangerous.

RELATED: Crosby family fed up with constant power outages that threaten health of quadriplegic son

KHOU 11 News spoke with one family in Crosby who said their son is disabled and needs to stay cool in order to survive.

“It’s miserable. It’s hot,” David Anzaldua said. “I was in a car accident … severed my spinal cord and I don’t feel anything below (there). I don’t regulate my body temperature.”

The extreme temperatures can cause David serious health problems.

“It causes my blood pressure to sky-rocket … it’s been up in the 180s. It will go up and go down and brutal to the body,” David said.

David’s family said they’ve even bought a generator to keep David cool because they keep losing power but it’s still not enough.

They say they just want CenterPoint to fix the problem because they’re son’s life depends on it.

We’re still waiting to hear back from CenterPoint about what’s causing those outages in David’s neighborhood.

Using its free app, ERCOT allows you to monitor real-time grid conditions:

Supply and demand

Grid conditions

ERCOT suggests Texans conserve electricity by raising thermostats to 78 degrees and postponing using large appliances (dishwashers, laundry machines, etc.) during peak afternoon hours.