News Release

March 03, 2014

Conservation Alert extended through Tuesday morning

AUSTIN, TX, March 3, 2014, 1 p.m. – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of Texas, is asking electric consumers to continue limiting their electric use as much as possible through 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, as late winter weather conditions continue.

“We were able to maintain grid reliability without an energy emergency this morning, and we appreciate this help from consumers,” said Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of System Operations. “With the continued cold weather, we expect conditions to remain tight, especially during the early evening tonight and early morning hours tomorrow.”

ERCOT issued a Conservation Alert Sunday evening to encourage consumers to limit their electric use Monday morning, when peak demand reached 54,549 megawatts and all available generation was being used to ensure the system remained reliable. This new March record exceeded the previous record of 43,033 MW, set March 4, 2002, by more than 11,500 MW. High demand due to the very cold temperatures and windy conditions is expected to continue through at least Tuesday morning, and generation supplies remain limited.

Consumers can help ensure the system is able to continue serving current power needs by taking the following steps to reduce demand Monday 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, especially during peak demand hours of 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.

“We have asked that all available generation units remain available, but we believe conservation by consumers also will be necessary to help maintain reliability during this cold March weather,” 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.