News Release

February 06, 2014

Consumers asked to conserve electricity due to extreme cold, limited generation

AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 6, 2014 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of Texas, is asking electric consumers to reduce electric use from 5 p.m. today through noon on Friday, Feb. 7.

“With the cold weather that began last night, we already saw electric demand close to our winter record this morning,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations. “We are expecting cold weather to continue through tomorrow morning’s high demand period, and some generation capacity has become unavailable due to limitations to natural gas supplies.”

Consumers can help ensure the system is able to continue serving current power needs by taking the following steps to reduce demand on the system tonight and tomorrow morning:

  • Keep your thermostat as low as is comfortable, preferably no higher than 68 degrees.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours (6-9 a.m. and 4-8 p.m.).
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

ERCOT peak demand this morning exceeded 57,000 megawatts (MW) and could reach or break its 57,277 MW record before the current winter weather leaves the region.

“This is a precautionary measure to help ensure we can maintain overall reliability through this high-demand period,” said Woodfin. 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 650+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.

Contact
512-275-7432
media@ercot.com