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Texans no longer need to reduce their electricity use to avoid stressing the power grid, according to current grid conditions on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas website.
Consumers can return to normal electricity use after a week that stressed the grid – and Texans worries. The ERCOT website said, “There is enough electricity for current demand,” and an ERCOT spokesperson confirmed that the energy-saving notice expired at 7 p.m. on Friday.
On Monday, the state’s grid manager warned that an unusual amount of power generation, mostly from natural gas-fired power plants, had been cut as weather conditions produced little wind for the turbines . For five days, ERCOT warned that the electricity supply was low as Texans increased their demand for electricity in warmer weather, and called on the public to reduce their electricity use.
About 12,000 megawatts of production were offline as of Monday, enough to power 2.4 million homes on a hot summer day. The majority of the offline production was unexpected, the network operator said, meaning something at a power plant malfunctioned or broke down, and the plant was forced to partially or fully shut down.
The amount of production that was down earlier in the week was several times what ERCOT typically expects at this time of year; Texas power plants are generally built to perform well during the summer heat. In addition, the wind turbines were not producing as much electricity as the grid managers had expected for the summer season. The combination of the two resulted in what ERCOT called “tight” network conditions.
ERCOT officials were unable to provide details on why so many Generation was offline. At the same time, the Texans used a record amount of electricity for early June. Electricity grids must maintain the balance between supply and demand at all times, which is why the grid operator has asked consumers to reduce their consumption – the first of several emergency measures taken by ERCOT to avoid customer outages.
Friday was also the day state regulators announced they would begin lifting the moratorium on utilities, meaning utilities can start sending disconnection notices to customers. Disconnections can resume on June 29 at the earliest.