AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the second straight day, Texas’ main electrical grid operator is asking Texans to conserve electricity use. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)’s request for conservation is from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday with “operating reserves expected to be low [Friday afternoon and evening].”

ERCOT is not experiencing emergency conditions at this time, the release said.

“Current forecasts are showing a potential to enter emergency operations,” the release said.

The release said ERCOT expects these grid conditions to continue through the Aug. 26-27 weekend because of the extreme heat.

Part of ERCOT’s conservation request includes government agencies, including city and county offices. The organization is asking government agencies “to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.”

On Thursday, ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said they expected “tight conditions” on the grid for the evening hours.

In the latest release, ERCOT said it “avoided emergency operations [Thursday] due to the conservation efforts by Texas residents and businesses, combined with timely rainfall in the Houston area, improved wind conditions, and additional grid reliability tools.”

The organization said it set a new, all-time, unofficial peak demand record of 85,435 MW on Aug. 10, 2023. In 2022, ERCOT said the August peak demand was 78,465 MW.

ERCOT alert levels

  • Conservation Alert: This is a voluntary request to reduce electrical use, ERCOT said. While ERCOT said it is not in emergency operations, it asks the public and “all government agencies to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.”
  • Energy Emergency Level 1: Conservation is considered to be critical. We reach this stage when operating reserves drop below 2,300 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes.
  • Emergency Level 2: Triggered when reserves are less than 1,750 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes. At this point, ERCOT can reduce demand on the system by interrupting power from large industrial customers who have contractually agreed to have their electricity turned off during an emergency.
  • Emergency Level 3: The final level hits when reserves drop below 1,430 MW. If operating reserves then drop below 1,000 MW and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, and/or the grid’s frequency level cannot be maintained at 60 Hz, then ERCOT will implement “controlled outages,” also known as rolling blackouts.

ERCOT’s notification system

Anyone who wants to sign up for grid condition notifications via the Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS) can visit the ERCOT website.

ERCOT hopes the TXANS system will help increase transparency and trust, ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas previously said.