That was a little too close for comfort. Earlier this afternoon, ERCOT entered a Level 1 Emergency Alert at 3:30 pm. when responsive reserves dropped below 2300 MW. The state energy officials asked residents and businesses to conserve energy during the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. It seems that the nice little reserve cushion of electricity ERCOT originally thought we had for the summer is evaporating in the midst of this Texas-sized heat wave.
A spokesman for ERCOT attributed the loss of several generation units and the unseasonably hot days we have had this June for the precautionary emergency alert that was issued.
Fortunately, that alert was canceled late this afternoon, but a “watch” remains in effect until reserves reach a comfortable threshold, according to an ERCOT statement released late Monday afternoon.
BACKGROUND ON ENERGY EMERGENCY ALERT PROCEDURES
Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) is the detailed, step-by-step procedure, triggered by diminishing reserves, that ERCOT Operations uses to maximize generation resources during grid emergencies.
Level 1 allows ERCOT to bring on uncommitted generation and power from neighboring grids.
Level 2 calls for dropping load-resource customers (large industrial/commercial customers who have been paid to accept the risk of interruption – Load Resources) which reduces load by approximately 1,100 MW. The second part of Level 2 calls for additional interruptible loads in the load-reduction program (Emergency Interruptible Loads) to be dropped if needed to maintain system frequency.
At Level 3, ERCOT instructs the utilities to reduce demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level. These controlled temporary interruptions of electrical service—or rotating outages—typically last 15-40 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.
CONSERVATION TIPS (COURTESY OF ERCOT)
- Limit electricity usage to only that consumption which is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
- Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, pool pump, or other home appliances between the hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Close blinds and drapes on windows that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 80 degrees, and use fans to circulate the air.
- Use microwaves or outdoor grills for cooking to avoid heating the home.
- Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
- Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
For more information on this topic or to learn how to conserve more on your business’ electricity bills, contact a certified energy advisor from Live Energy at (877) 810-7770 today.