San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 9th, 2011
ERCOT urges continued energy conservation


As the scorching summer days march on, so does the fear of blackouts. Trip Doggett, president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said on Monday that even though temperatures are dipping slightly from last week, demand on generators is still high.

This weekend was one of the worst ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, has seen in a long time, he said.

Doggett said ERCOT had to rely on coastal wind to help keep the state running last week. Texas managed to stay out of an energy emergency alert, and he said he is expecting the same this week.

But at about 4:15 p.m. Monday, a generator tripped. That has the potential to push Texas into a low emergency alert, which would require Texans to take more energy conservation measures. But ERCOT is waiting to see how quickly the demand eases, Doggett said.

Even with forecasters predicting two more weeks of grueling heat, Doggett said that as long as temperatures are lower than those last week, the state should be in better shape to meet the energy demand.

“It is amazing the difference two degrees can make in a system load,” Doggett said.

Industries that have agreements with wholesalers and follow real-time pricing will feel the most impact. Homeowners, though, are still being urged to conserve energy as the heat continues.

IONNA MAKRIS reports for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.

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