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ERCOT again pleas for energy conservation as temperatures soar

Control room at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Julia Reihs
A control room at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT is asking people to cut their electricity use Saturday afternoon and evening as sizzling summer temperatures again test the grid.

As a record-breaking summer continues to scorch Texas, the state's grid regulator is asking Texans to turn down their energy use today from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) expects demand for power to surge as air conditioners compete with the unrelenting heat. High energy use coupled with lower-than expected wind and solar generation this afternoon could leave the grid struggling to keep up with demand, ERCOT said.

An ERCOT dashboard forecasts the demand for electricity this afternoon and evening to skirt close to the state's capacity to generate power.

A grid showing the state's forecasted energy use and supply coming close to meeting this afternoon .
ERCOT's supply and demand dashboard predicts razor-thin power reserves this afternoon.

This summer's requests for voluntary conservation are stacking up. This is the fifth one this month.

On Thursday, ERCOT warned of possible emergency operations — an escalating series of drastic measures that culminates in rolling blackouts.

But Texas was spared because people reduced power; Houston got rain; and more wind helped generate additional electricity.

A table showing the three stages of ERCOT's emergency operations
ERCOT has three basic stages of emergency operations intended to save the grid from a catastrophic failure. The stages begin with importing power from neighboring grids, then move to cutting power to large industrial customers and culminate with rolling blackouts

Austin Energy says you can conserve energy by:

  • raising the thermostat by a few degrees
  • using fans to stay cool
  • avoiding use of large appliances
  • turning off lights you don't need
  • setting pool pumps to run early in the morning or overnight

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an excessive heat warningfor parts of the Austin-area — cautioning of dangerously hot temperatures around 105 or higher. That's the forecast high today at Camp Mabry. The normal high is 98.3.

Austin has recorded 64 days of triple digit heat this year, according to NWS records. The city is on track to have its hottest summer ever.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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