The Lone Star State’s grid operator is asking Texans to voluntarily conserve electricity Wednesday during a major heat wave, just two days after issuing a similar warning for Monday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued a “conservation appeal” asking customers to reduce their electricity use from 2 pm to 8 pm
Monday’s appeal cited “record high electric demand” and low wind to power turbines. Wednesday’s appeal adds two new issues: cloud cover reducing solar power in West Texas and a number of forced thermal power outages that “exceeds ERCOT forecasts.”
ERCOT said that Texans complying with Monday’s ask — by turning down thermostats and refraining from running major appliances — reduced energy use by 500 megawatts.
The state’s struggle with its power grid has been a pillar of Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign against Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
“Abbott wouldn’t be repeatedly telling us to cut the A/C in 100+ degree heat if he had just fixed the grid,” O’Rourke wrote Wednesday on Twitter, responding to the second appeal.
Abbott’s press secretary and senior communications advisor Renae Eze responded to O’Rourke’s Monday comments, saying that ERCOT’s appeal for voluntary conservation is “one of the many tools at their disposal to ensure enough power keeps flowing.”
According to ERCOT’s most recent release, conservation “has been deployed more than four dozen times since 2008 to successfully manage grid operation” and is used when reserves fall below a 2,300 megawatt standard for a half hour or more.
The grid operator made a similar request in May, after six power plants shut down during a heat wave, The Texas Tribune reported.