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Staring Down Record Demand, ERCOT Asks Texans To Dial Down Electricity Use

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Gabriel C. Pérez
ERCOT says it saw a record-high demand for electricity Monday because of the heat.

Update at 5:26 p.m.: ERCOT announces the need for conservation has ended.

The original post follows:

Texas' electric grid-operator put out a call for conservation today as it faces record demand amid soaring temperatures.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas asked Texans to turn down thermostats and limit the use of large appliances until 7 p.m. on Tuesday – a day after it saw a record-high demand for electricity. ERCOT says today's demand for electricity could outpace supply and issued its highest emergency conservation alert.

If demand outpaces supply, known as peak demand, the grid-operator could ask industrial users to voluntarily shutdown in exchange for discounted electricity rates. ERCOT could also initiate rolling blackouts for periods of anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to reduce the strain on Texas' power grid. The last time that happened was in winter 2011.

ERCOT asks Texans to refrain from using machines to wash or dry clothes or using dishwashers until after 7 p.m. It suggests closing blinds and turning down air conditioning to help cut down on demand.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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