Editor’s Note: The above video explains the different ERCOT alert levels.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas’ main electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, issued a conservation alert for Texans Wednesday evening due to potential “tight grid conditions,” according to a press release.
The request to conserve is from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, the release states. All government agencies, including city and county offices, are asked to reduce energy use at their facilities.
“Today’s conservation appeal does not indicate ERCOT is experiencing emergency conditions at this time. Current forecasts are showing a potential for low reserves this evening because of continued high temperatures, high demand, low wind, and declining solar power generation into the evening hours,” the release states.
ERCOT has several different Energy Emergency Alert levels, or EEAs. After Normal Grid Conditions, the levels are Conservation Alert level, then EEA 1, 2, and 3.
Here’s what the alert levels mean:
- 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 has also recently launched the TXANS system to issue weather watch notifications, which are distributed three to five days ahead of forecasted weather that could impact the grid and create high demand.