We know residents have some concerns about the Texas power grid and whether or not there will be outages this summer, especially after ERCOT called for conservation the week of June 14. While the City has no authority or control over the power grid, we wanted to provide answers to some of your frequently asked questions.
Why did ERCOT ask Texans to conserve energy?
According to ERCOT, unexpected repairs were being made to multiple power generators and wind output was also expected to be lower than usual, making less power available than normal, while at the same time demand was rising because of increasing temperatures. The 12,000 megawatts that were offline was enough to power 2.4 million homes. State officials said on Thursday afternoon (June 17) that the situation had improved.
You can keep track of the status of the state’s power grid at www.ercot.com. A graphic labeled Current Conditions shows how much energy is currently available in the state and how much we're all using. The graphic is updated every 5 minutes. Conditions are considered normal when reserves remain greater than 3,000 megawatts. If they fall below 2,300 megawatts and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, ERCOT will initiate emergency alerts to prevent outages. Learn more about ERCOT's emergency alerts.
What’s being done to prevent future power failures?
The Texas Legislature recently passed SB 2 and SB 3 making multiple reforms to the state’s power system. According to lawmakers, the new laws include rules to prevent lengthy rolling blackouts, issue fines to utilities that are not prepared for severe weather events, create a statewide power outage alert system so utilities can quickly react to outages, make changes to the membership of the Public Utility Commission to provide greater government oversight, ensure that all services necessary to provide power to Texas' homes and businesses are budgeted for and protected from weather emergencies, and create the Texas Electricity Supply Chain Security and Mapping Committee to better prepare Texas' grid for potential supply-chain disruptions.
How has the system kept up with population growth and increasing demand?
According to state officials, over the last ten years, 124 new power generators have been added to the state’s power grid.
Who should I contact if there are power problems at my home?
Oncor maintains the poles, wires and transformers that bring electricity to your home. When storms, tree limbs, wildlife or equipment failures cause your power to go out, contact Oncor at 888-313-4747 and they will send someone to fix it. Oncor is regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. If you are not satisfied with Oncor’s response, you can file a complaint at https://www.puc.texas.gov/consumer/complaint/Complaint.aspx.
Where can I find more information?