Electric crews drive around San Marcos during the 2021 winter storm. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
ERCOT issues winter weather watch ahead of expected high energy demand
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a winter weather watch Wednesday ahead of an arctic cold front blasting through the state.
ERCOT, which manages the flow of electricity to more than 26 million Texas customers, is forecasting high energy demand during the duration of the winter weather event. ERCOT said it’s taking action ahead of the winter weather to “ensure grid reliability.”
“ERCOT is using all the tools available to manage the grid effectively during this winter weather,” Interim CEO Brad Jones said in a statement. “ERCOT will deploy all the resources and aggressively implement the tools available to us to manage the grid reliably during this winter weather. We will continue coordinating closely with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Public Utility Commission, the Railroad Commission and elected officials — as well as electric generators and transmission and distribution utilities — to keep Texans informed throughout the week.”
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning in Hays County with a wintry mix in the forecast for Thursday and low temperatures in the 20s Friday morning. Wind chills could get into the teens and even the single digits, NWS meteorologist Aaron Treadway said Monday.
Concerns regarding the electric grid come after last year’s Winter Storm Uri, where electricity was lost across the state for many days. During a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said there could be outages in areas across the state.
“Either ice on power lines ... could cause a power line to go down, or it could be ice on trees that causes a tree to fall on power lines,” Abbott said during the press conference. “No one can guarantee there won’t be [power outages].”
ERCOT stated Wednesday, however, that it projects to have sufficient generation to meet the high demand for electricity.
“While grid conditions remain strong with enough capacity, our weather forecasts show there is potential for significant frozen precipitation behind this week’s cold front,” Jones said. “With frozen precipitation there is always a chance for local outages caused by things like ice on wires or fallen tree limbs. These local outages are not related to the amount of available electricity generated and put on the grid. Texans should contact their utility in the event they experience a localized outage.”
In a social media post, the City of San Marcos said San Marcos Electric Utility customers should call 512-393-8313 if an outage is experienced.