As summer heats up, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is warning citizens that triple-digit temperatures may lead to increased electricity demand on the state’s power grid.

ERCOT’s Supply and Demand chart shows that as temperatures rise later this week, the power grid may see record-high electricity demand.

The organization declared a Weather Watch earlier this week, lasting from June 15 to June 21, warning Texans that high temperatures may create higher demand on the power grid.

The Weather Watch alert was introduced last month as part of the Texas Advisory and Notification System to warn citizens a few days ahead of potential power grid problems. ERCOT claimed the system’s launch is part of its “ongoing effort to be more open and transparent.”

ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said Texans should pay attention to the power grid’s conditions in the coming days.

“ERCOT has issued its first Weather Watch to let Texans know that we are forecasting increased demand due to the higher temperatures expected this week and into next week,” said Vegas. “Grid conditions are normal when we issue a Weather Watch.”

Last month, Peter Lake, chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, warned that ERCOT may ask Texans to conserve power during the upcoming summer, adding that energy companies may resort to shutting off customers’ electricity and implementing rolling blackouts if unreliable energy sources fail.

Although ERCOT claims the power grid can handle increased stress, the organization has repeatedly come under fire for failing to supply electricity to Texans in extreme weather conditions.

Historic Failings

Unreliable energy sources and ERCOT’s dependability came under fire in February 2021 after a winter storm blasted Texas.

As temperatures dipped below zero, ERCOT implemented rolling blackouts when the power grid struggled to keep up with the high-energy demand. For days, millions of Texans suffered through extreme weather conditions without electricity.

ERCOT shifted some blame to renewable energy sources, claiming more than half of the state’s wind turbines froze during the storm and failed to supply enough power.

Following the winter storm, Gov. Greg Abbott implored lawmakers to investigate and reform ERCOT, which led to the resignation of four board members and the firing of CEO Bill Magness.

However, ERCOT continued failing to produce enough energy for the state, with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation warning that Texas was at risk for a summer energy emergency last year.

Last summer, the organization issued a “conservation appeal” to citizens and businesses across the state. In the appeal, ERCOT urged Texans to raise their thermostat temperature and refrain from using large appliances. They also warned that low wind speeds and increased cloud coverage could severely limit energy collected from renewable resources like wind turbines and solar panels.

Looking Ahead

As some Texans question ERCOT’s ability to reliably power the state, Vegas promised the organization would focus on supplying citizens with electricity.

“ERCOT continues to monitor conditions closely and will deploy all available tools to manage the grid and will continue our reliability-first approach to operations, always prioritizing grid reliability,” said Vegas.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.