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Update: ERCOT Shuts Down Industrial Users To Save Power

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Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News.
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ERCOT is urging consumers to ease off electricity usage, as high temperatures and low power reserves strain the grid operator's delivery system.

Texas' electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, has moved from Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 to Level 2. That means shutting down industrial customers who are paid for the inconvenience.

Moving to Level 3 would require local utilities, like Austin Energy, to implement rotating outages to avoid  uncontrolled, cascading blackouts that could damage the grid.

The extreme heat and the return of students to schools and colleges is considered to be a major factor in why the grid is being taxed more severely this week than last, when temperatures were also in the triple digits.

ERCOT is forecasting 67,000 megawatts of power could be used by Texans today, very close to the record of 68,294 megawatts set three weeks ago.

“We’re expecting more high temperatures Thursday and through the weekend, so we may have more emergency procedures later in the week and weekend,” ERCOT Vice President for Systems Planning and Operations Kent Saathoff said in a news release this afternoon.  “Until we get a break in this extreme heat and record drought, we appreciate consumers and businesses conserving electricity as they are able, especially between 3 and 7 p.m."

The grid operator is asking consumers to shut off all unnecessary electric appliances and devices and to turn air conditioning thermostats up, to help take the load off the delivery system.