AUSTIN, Texas – The organization that runs Texas' power grid asked people to conserve energy Tuesday night as demand threatened to outstrip supply — a situation created by inaccurate power generation forecasts and power plants being voluntarily shut down for maintenance issues.
Hours later, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which is commonly known as ERCOT, ended its request for residents to conserve electricity.
About 25% of Texas' power generation potential was offline due to maintenance, according to ERCOT. That coupled with warmer-than-expected temperatures and misses on daily forecasts on Texas' power grid created a "tight market," said Woody Rickerson, vice president of grid planning and operations for ERCOT.
The Texas Legislature has been considering a number of bills that would call for reforms in how the state's power grid operates.
Though ERCOT was on the verge of issuing an emergency declaration, Rickerson said power grid operators does not expect to order any blackouts. Demand on Texas' power grid was expected to dip as the evening progressed, as air conditioners are turned off while temperatures decline.
Rickerson said the plants being offline for maintenance likely were not related to outages in the February winter storm event.
"None of those (outages) that I'm aware of — well, maybe, maybe some of them — most of them are not due to damage from the winter storm," he said.
The 32 megawatts of power generation offline due to maintenance is enough to power roughly 13 million homes. The plants are offline because power companies are preparing them for summer months, when demand on the system is usually much higher than an April day like Tuesday, when highs across Texas were in the 70s and 80s.
"In April of every year we see a lot of outages for regular maintenance, and what we're seeing is not that unusual," Rickerson said.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: ERCOT called for conservation as Texas power grid faces stress