AUSTIN, Texas - As the triple-digit heat continues to bake Central Texas, the state’s power grid continues to set records. On Monday, and again Tuesday, the grid saw the most demand for a single day in June, ever.
"It doesn't mean that there's an imminent issue that the grid is going to go down or anything like that, but we are tighter than we otherwise would normally be," said Joshua Rhodes, a research scientist with the University of Texas at Austin.
That led ERCOT to issue a voluntary conservation notice between 4-8 p.m. Tuesday.
"So this conservation notice from ERCOT is very standard for these kinds of situations when we're seeing these extreme high temperatures and this record, projected record demand for electricity," said Matt Mitchell, spokesperson for Austin Energy.
Grid conditions remained very tight, though Texas avoided any grid-related outages. Austin, however, did see some non-grid-related outages Tuesday evening.
"Any time you have extreme temperatures, whether that's cold or hot, it stresses a lot of those technical and electronic components that make up our grid," said Mitchell.
At one point Tuesday evening, Austin Energy reported more than 800 customers without power.
"We have our crews on standby all over our service territory so that we can respond quickly to safely restore power," said Mitchell.
- ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy due to extreme heat
- Austin first responders see increase in heat-related calls
- Extreme Texas heat impacts several people working outside
Statewide, one point of concern was more gas and coal power plants going offline than expected. And a reactor at the Comanche Peak nuclear plant is back online after tripping off Friday.
"If we have more start tripping offline, then that will be concerning, you know, going forward. But it is a bit concerning the levels that we have now," said Rhodes.
One bright spot Tuesday, was solar generation.
"That same strong sun that's heating everything up is producing a lot of electricity right now," said Rhodes.
So far, ERCOT has not issued a conservation notice for Wednesday, but the utility does remain under a "weather watch".
"You want to make sure that if you do have an outage, you've got a plan," said Mitchell.
"Just being prepared and having general knowledge of what to do if you do have to go without air conditioning can go a long way in keeping all of us safe," said Rhodes.
To that end, energy experts recommend making the following preparations just in case you lose power:
- Keep plenty of cold water and ice on hand
- Keep damp rags in your refrigerator to keep yourself cool
- Know where your nearest cooling center is in case you need to relocate
- If you have a medically-vulnerable member of your household, know the steps you need to take to keep them safe
You can report an outage to Austin Energy one of three ways:
- Online: https://austinenergy.ifactornotifi.com/ui/outage-reporting
- Text OUT to 287846
- Call (512) 322-9100