Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

August 16, 2011

ERCOT CEO: Thank you for conserving electricity

H.B. "Trip" Doggett
President and Chief Executive Officer
Electric Reliability Council of Texas

On behalf of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for conserving electricity during this period of prolonged hot, dry weather in Texas.

As you have no doubt experienced, intense weather conditions have been the norm this summer. We have all had the shared experience of attempting to keep ourselves and our loved ones cool and healthy in challenging conditions.

At ERCOT, we have been working around the clock to keep the electricity flowing, making sure you have the resources you need to stay productive and well this summer. While we are always charged with making sure you have adequate electricity, this summer has posed a particularly serious challenge to the electric grid.

Because the heat has been sustained over the entire state with little or no rain or cloud cover, the strain on the electric grid has been greater than ever before. In Dallas and Austin, we are beating all-time records for triple-digit heat. We have hit three all-time demand peaks in the last two weeks alone, meaning we’ve used more electricity on three days this summer than on any other day in the history of ERCOT, which covers most of Texas.

Additionally, Texas is experiencing economic and population growth while much of the rest of the country is not. All of these factors are contributing to very high energy usage this summer.

As you probably read in your newspaper or saw on the news, ERCOT has issued appeals for conservation across the state this August. We have encouraged businesses and residential customers to help us save electricity between the critical hours of 3 and 7 p.m.

For instance, turning off unnecessary lights, appliances and electronic equipment can help conditions significantly.

Conservation efforts help us avoid statewide rotating outages and keep your lights on and air-conditioners running. Conservation not only keeps power and cool air flowing to every citizen, it ensures that uninterrupted power flows to critical care customers, who are most vulnerable in the extreme heat.

While ERCOT has not called for rotating outages this summer, it is important to remember that we only implement these orderly, temporary outages to prevent a catastrophic collapse of the electric grid. As you may remember from the Northeast blackout a few years ago, once a grid failure occurs, it can take days to restore power to all consumers. Your conservation efforts help us prevent this from happening.

While ERCOT always carries reserves, our power supply is not unlimited. With your help and conservation efforts, though, we can keep residents and businesses healthy and productive this summer.

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.