TEXAS — Mother’s Day weekend will usher in the first 100-degree temperatures of the year in Texas. The Austin area, for instance, should see a high of 100 by Sunday afternoon.
The heat will put a strain on the power grid as Texans crank up the AC.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, better known as ERCOT, is trying to get ahead of the situation and on Tuesday issued a warning about demand.
Anticipating “larger than normal demand for power,” ERCOT in a news release said it is working to manage grid reliably and coordinating with the Public Utility Commission, transmission utilities and generation owners to ensure they are ready for extreme heat.
ERCOT additionally said it has asked power plants across the state to postpone planned outages and return from in-progress outages in order to prepare for the weekend.
While it hasn’t happened yet, Texans in the past have been asked to reduce power during peak hours in order to ensure the grid keeps up with demand. The request is typically that you avoid running large appliances, such as dryers, for a specified period.
ERCOT’s warning Tuesday follows an announcement earlier this week that a massive, multi-layer map of infrastructure critical to the Texas electric industry has been adopted by a multi-agency Texas committee.
The Electricity Supply Chain map identifies 65,000 facilities across the state, including electricity generation plants, electric substations, natural gas processing plants, underground gas storage facilities, oil-and-gas well leases and saltwater disposal wells. It also charts over 21,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines and approximately 60,000 miles of power transmission lines.
During the winter storm of February 2021, the Texas power grid nearly collapsed entirely. Millions of Texans went without power for extended periods in freezing temperatures, and the event caused the deaths of at least 246 people.
Since then, steps have been taken to ensure the reliability of the grid, but critics say it’s not enough.
Spectrum News’ Kimberly Reeves contributed to this report.