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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking people to conserve electricity through Tuesday, Feb. 16, during the arctic front as power usage spikes and equipment ices over.

“We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas,” said Bill Magness, president and CEO of the electricity grid operator. “At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units. We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time.”

Tips include:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees.
  • Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat loss through windows.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Reduce the use of large appliances as much as possible.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-using equipment as much as possible.
  • Large-energy consumers should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Officials pointed out that with the prolonged and extreme cold temperatures, these steps should be used safely and within reason.

ERCOT, which manages electricity flow to about 26 million Texans, has tools and procedures in place to maintain reliable service during these situations. However, if power reserves drop too low, ERCOT can declare an emergency. ERCOT has three levels of emergency actions with rolling outages as the last resort. 

Visit the ERCOT website for more information on its emergency actions and procedures and electricity tracking.