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ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy amid record demand and triple-digit statewide temps

The control room at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in Taylor.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
The control room at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in Taylor. ERCOT manages the electric grid for 24 million Texans.

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Texas' electric grid operator is asking folks to conserve energy from 4 to 8 p.m. today.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it saw record demand for the month of June on Monday — a record that could be broken Tuesday as much of the state suffers through triple-digit heat.

At a board meeting Tuesday, Ercot CEO Pablo Vegas emphasized the request for conservation is voluntary.

"ERCOT is not experiencing any emergency conditions right now," Vegas said. But he added the state "could be looking at another record-setting day today" for electricity demand.

On the whole, ERCOT said it expects this summer to be cooler than last summer, thanks in part to a relatively wet spring that tamped down drought conditions.

Still, Woody Rickerson, ERCOT's vice president of planning, told the board Tuesday that he still expects high demand over the next two weeks, as triple-digit temperatures are forecast for much of the state.

"Even though we are going to go through a period of pretty hot weather here, including today and the next few days, the overall look this summer is still expected to be more like a normal summer," Rickerson said.

The Office of the Texas State Climatologist said two-thirds of the state experienced above-average temperatures last week and that most of the state saw no rain. Those above-average temperatures are expected to continue, according to the climatologist's and ERCOT's forecast.

The vast majority of the state is currently under an excessive heat warning through at least Tuesday night. That includes Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth.

Texas broke 11 records for electricity demand last summer, according to ERCOT, including an all-time record last July. That record will likely be broken this summer, according to forecasts.

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 aweber@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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