ERCOT asks Texans to save energy and avoid outages in the heat

With high temperatures throughout the weekend creating a high demand for energy, the Texas Electrical Reliability Board is asking Texans to conserve energy.

ERCOT said six power plants went offline on Friday afternoon and caused the loss of about 2,900 megawatts of electricity.

“With exceptionally warm weather driving record demand across Texas, ERCOT continues to work closely with the electric industry to ensure Texans have the energy they need,” said ERCOT said in a May 13 press release.

They are asking Texans to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and to avoid the use of large appliances such as dishwashers, washers and dryers during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekends. .

Demand is currently at 64,000 megawatts, according to ERCOT data, and the dashboard on its website says “there is enough power for current demand.” Friday at 4 p.m., 66% of thermal resources were operating, as well as 73% of solar and 17% of wind power.

Temperatures are forecast at 95 degrees Saturday and 98 degrees Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. They should stay in the 90s to 100s until next week.

How do you prepare for a heat-related power outage?

It’s best to be prepared for power outages caused by hot weather. You can monitor network conditions via ERCOT Online Dashboard.

Oncor Electric Delivery Company, the largest electric transmission and distribution utility in Texas, said it was monitoring the weather this weekend and was prepared to respond to any outages. To report an outage, call 888-313-4747, text 66267, use the MyOncor app, or select “Report an Outage” on the Oncor website. If you see a downed power line, move away and call 911 immediately.

Here’s how to handle a heat-related outage, according to the Red Cross and safe electricity:

Before

During

  • Check if the power outage only affects your home. If it’s just your house, check your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If that’s not the problem, check the service wires leading to the house. If they appear damaged or are on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back.
  • Don’t forget to call your electricity supplier immediately to report the outage.
  • Stay on the coolest, lowest level of your home.

  • Turn off all your electronic appliances and equipment and adjust your thermostat to avoid damage from a power surge.
  • Unplug major equipment, including air conditioners, computers, and televisions.

  • Turn off all your lights, except one inside and one outside, so you know when power has been restored.
  • Do not open your freezer or refrigerator unless necessary. A freezer will keep food frozen for up to 36 hours if the door is left closed. If a blackout lasts more than four hours, take out of the refrigerator and pack meat, milk and other dairy products in a cooler with ice.
  • Never use barbecue grills, camping heaters or household generators indoors as they give off carbon monoxide. Never leave burning candles unattended.

After

How do you stay safe during a heat-related power outage?

AARP Texas says extreme heat can be especially dangerous for older or medically vulnerable Texans.

Here’s how to prevent heat-related illnesses in the event of a power outage, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services:

  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

  • Draw blinds on all windows and use cross ventilation and fans to cool rooms.

  • If your accommodation is not air-conditioned, look for a heat shelter in your area.

  • Immerse in cool water.

  • If you are outdoors, rest in a shaded area.

  • Reduce exercise.

  • Wear SPF 15 or higher sunscreen and a hat.

  • Avoid hot, heavy meals, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Visit at-risk adults at least twice a day and monitor them closely for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

  • Ask a doctor about the effects of sun and heat when taking prescription medications, especially diuretics, antibiotics, or antihistamines.

  • Dial 2-1-1 for health information and 9-1-1 for emergencies.

According to the DSHS, symptoms of complications from heat exposure include:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Weak but rapid pulse
  • Headache

How to help someone with these symptoms:

  • Protect them from the sun and heat.
  • Call emergency medical services.
  • Immediately begin cooling the person with cold water and ventilating.

Current temperatures and weather data from NOAA weather stations are updated hourly. Tap on the map for current weather conditions including humidity, wind speed. and guidance. Data provided by NOAA and Esri.

This story was originally published May 13, 2022 6:11 p.m.

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Dalia Faheid is a reporter in Star-Telegram’s service journalism team. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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