As Texas prepares for colder weather this coming week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees Texas’ power grid, released a weather watch, warning citizens of a higher electrical demand than normal. 

Temperatures are expected to drop 20-30 degrees below Texas’ typical January averages. In Fort Worth, daytime highs will begin in the mid-20s and will not reach 46 degrees until Wednesday.

A watch, spanning January 15-17, forecasts “extreme cold weather across the ERCOT region, higher electrical demand, and the potential for lower reserves.” However, ERCOT says that grid conditions are expected to remain normal and that they do not expect the cold front to bring an energy emergency.

ERCOT states that they will continue to monitor the upcoming conditions carefully to manage the grid and to ensure a “reliability-first approach.”

While many Texans remember the detrimental power outage in February 2021, when unreliable energy sources and ERCOT’s dependability came under fire after a winter storm blasted Texas leaving many Texans in the dark, ERCOT requested an additional 3,000 megawatts in October 2023 to prepare for this winter season.

“Our request to procure capacity in advance of winter is part of our continued commitment to maintain grid reliability and resiliency. ERCOT is not projecting energy emergency conditions this winter season, but we want to be prepared and ensure all available tools are readily available if needed,” ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas said.

Vegas, with Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick and Gov. Greg Abbott, said in a press conference Friday morning that the electric grid and natural gas supply are better prepared than ever before and will remain reliable over the course of this severe winter weather event.

“The State of Texas is working tirelessly to keep Texans safe and warm as an extraordinarily cold weather system begins to impact our state,” said Abbott in a statement Friday. “Texans are urged to be prepared for a multi-long period of extreme cold weather and avoid going outside until this winter storm system has passed. I also encourage motorists to stay off the roads. If driving is necessary, motorists are encouraged to remain cautious and check to receive the most up-to-date road conditions. I want to thank state and local officials who will brave the severe weather to keep their fellow Texans safe.”  

ERCOT encourages Texans to sign up for notifications regarding grid conditions by going to the Texas Advisory and Notification System. Grid conditions can also be watched in real time here

Amelia McKenzie

Amelia is a senior at Liberty University in Virginia. She is studying Digital Journalism and is currently a fellow with Texas Scorecard.