Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

February 02, 2011

Grid Situation Improving; Conservation Still Needed -- 9:20 pm

Winter record expected Thursday morning; consumers asked to reduce energy consumption 6-9 am

February 2, 2011, 9:20  pm ---  ERCOT’s electricity demand peaked this evening at 56,334 MW between 7-8 pm – a new all-time record for winter peak demand.  ERCOT’s previous record for all time winter peak demand is 55,878 MW, which occurred on Jan. 8, 2010. 

Although the immediate concerns for the possibility of rotating outages this evening are reduced, ERCOT will still be monitoring the grid closely this evening because additional unexpected major losses of generation could force operators to proceed with emergency procedures to avoid an uncontrolled statewide blackout. 

Another record demand expected Thursday morning 

At this time, the forecast for tomorrow’s peak load is 56,800 MW which would break the record again.  ERCOT is asking consumers to reduce energy consumption during peak-demand times from 6 – 9 am. 

The grid continues to have more than 5,000 MW of generation out of service due to the effect of the extreme cold. 

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service initiated by each utility when supplies of reserve power are exhausted.  Without this safety valve, generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a state-wide outage. 

Utilities/ transmission providers determine the location/scheduling of the rotating outages.   

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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 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 710+ 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.