Energy & Environment

ERCOT is requesting Texans conserve electricity through weekend amid heat, drought

Experts say Texans should be prepared in the event that rolling blackouts are needed.


The U.S. Drought Monitor map comparing Texas in June and August 2023.

Texans are being asked to conserve energy because of low-wind power and high demand during persistent heat, ERCOT says.

The organization says energy should be conserved on Friday between the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. They estimate these conditions will likely last through the weekend.

Houston hit a tying record of 109 degrees on Thursday, but timely rainfall in the area and conservation efforts helped the grid avoid emergency operations according to ERCOT.

Ed Hirs is an energy economist and a University of Houston Energy Fellow and lecturer. He said ERCOT also avoided emergency operations because it bought energy from neighboring, federally-regulated grids.

"It's all going to get passed down to the consumer," he said. "Either in your bill next month, or when you sign up for a new plan later this year or next year."

Hirs said Texans should be aware that there's still a possibility of rolling blackouts before the summer is over.

The most recent widespread rolling power outages happened during Winter Storm Uri in 2021. At the time, the historic freeze left millions without power for days and led to hundreds of deaths.

"ERCOT is counting on using rolling blackouts – they call it load shedding by the way – to solve this problem of not having enough supply," Hirs said. "We're becoming a grid like a developing nation where some of us may have power for part of the day and some of us won't.

ERCOT says conservation efforts happen during a level one energy emergency, and rolling blackouts happen at level three.

This comes as 96% of the state is affected by the drought. Currently, the only locations registered as normal rainfall are counties in the uppermost region of the panhandle.

A third of the state is in extreme conditions, while almost 12% is in exceptional drought, which is designated for areas with widespread crop and pasture losses, and exceptional fire risk and water shortages.

The state drought map shows exceptional conditions growing in south, central, and southeast Texas.

Ariel Worthy contributed to this report.

Patricia Ortiz

Patricia Ortiz


Patricia Ortiz is a daily reporter for News 88.7. Her work includes a variety of topics including transportation, technology, energy, immigration and education. Patricia graduated from the University of Houston in Fall 2022 with a Bachelor's in Journalism. She spent most of her college career at the university's literary magazine,...

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