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Texas Power Grid Updates

Stay informed with updates on the Texas grid

Written by Caitlin Ritchie

Edited by Jamie Cesanek

Last updated 05/17/2024

Key Points

  • Extreme storms impacted Houston and the CenterPoint Energy service area, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
  • Although CenterPoint is actively working to restore electricity, residents should prepare for extended outages.
  • ERCOT released and canceled an Operating Condition Notice pertaining to the storm and will manually process the impact.
  • SaveOnEnergy will continue monitoring weather conditions and checking ERCOT’s website regularly for updates on the grid’s capacity.

A severe storm rolled into Houston on May 16, causing hundreds of thousands of households to lose electricity. The primary area impacted is part of the CenterPoint Energy domain. According to the utility, there is damage to several of its facilities, as well as the local infrastructure. Crews have started to clean up downed power lines, but it could take days for immediate relief. The weekend forecast does not call for severe weather, but affected residents should prepare for extended power outages. To report a power outage or other storm-related electrical concerns, contact CenterPoint. It’s never too early to start preparing for severe weather

On January 8, ERCOT released an Operating Condition Notice (OCN) in preparation for expected cold weather conditions in Texas. The OCN is active from Monday, January 15, through Wednesday, January 17. The winter weather will likely arrive in areas of Texas on Sunday night, January 14. According to the National Weather Service, the “hazardous cold” may impact all of North and Central Texas, with temperatures in some areas dropping below 10 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday night. An OCN is the first of four levels of communication issued by ERCOT ahead of possible emergency conditions. It does not automatically mean ERCOT will need to enter into emergency protocols or implement rolling power outages. However, it does indicate the possibility of conditions that could impact the grid’s reliability and the potential need for more energy resources. SaveOnEnergy’s winter storm safety guide offers useful information about how to stay safe during extremely cold weather.

On November 17, ERCOT announced it was canceling its request for additional capacity in preparation for the upcoming winter months. The grid operator said the cancellation was due to “limited response from the market, which included only a small 11.1 MW of potentially eligible capacity.” In the release, ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas stated, “The request for additional capacity was an extra layer of precaution to mitigate higher risk during extreme weather this winter. ERCOT is not projecting emergency conditions this winter and expects to have adequate resources to meet demand.”

On October 2, the grid manager announced it was seeking to increase operating reserves (the amount of energy available in the grid) by 3,000 megawatts for the winter 2023–2024 season. Pablo Vegas, ERCOT’s president and CEO, said in a statement, “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.”

On September 6, ERCOT issued an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2, stating that energy conservation was “critical” to maintaining the grid’s reliability. Later that evening, ERCOT ended emergency operations without initiating grid-related outages. ERCOT issued another conservation request the next day, September 7. Since the beginning of August, ERCOT has released 11 energy conservation requests and three official weather watches.

In August, ERCOT issued two weather watches and eight energy conservation requests due to high Texas temperatures, increased energy demand, and lower reserves. On social media, ERCOT assured residents it expected there would be enough electricity supply to meet demand. The grid manager did not need to implement rolling blackouts, and there weren’t any power outages as a result of the high temperatures.

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