NEWS RELEASE: EEA2: HIGH Risk of Rotating Outages

February 15, 2021

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — the Texas grid operator — has declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 2. Conservation is critical to avoid an electricity emergency. This is the second of three levels that ERCOT can issue. If an EEA Level 3 is issued, customers can expect rotating outages to protect the integrity of the grid.

Consumers are urged to reduce their electric consumption as much as possible. Steps to help reduce electricity use include: 

• Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, if possible. Wear warm, comfortable clothing to help stay warm indoors instead of adjusting the thermostat.

• Keep doors and windows closed to minimize hot air from escaping the home.

• Close shades and blinds to reduce heat leaving home.

• Switch the setting on ceiling fans to run clockwise at a low speed. This gentle updraft helps push warm air near the ceiling down into your living space.

• Unplug nonessential electronics as they still draw current.

• Avoid using large appliances like dryers during peak morning and evening hours.

• When not in use, make sure your fireplace damper is closed to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney.

• If you have central air and heat, do not close vents in unused rooms. This could increase pressure and cause duct leaks.

More conservation tips: 

• www.austinenergy.com/go/winter

• www.ercot.com/about/conservation

An EEA Level 2 is issued by ERCOT when there is a likelihood that rotating outages will be needed to reduce load.

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service implemented by utilities when it is necessary for ERCOT to reduce demand on the system. This type of demand reduction is only used as a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole.

In these situations, Austin Energy — along with other utilities across Texas — are required to lower the demand on its system based on its percentage of the historic ERCOT peak demand. While each utility is responsible for determining how to implement the required demand reduction, most utilities use rotating outages for this purpose. Rotating outages are typically limited to 10 to 40 minutes — but may last longer — before being rotated to another location.

Customers who experience these controlled outages can minimize power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other equipment.

How to track electricity demand: 

• For Austin Energy customers, you can use the Austin Energy web app or log into the City of Austin Utilities portal to monitor your energy use.

• View daily peak demand forecast, current load and available generation at www.ercot.com.

• Follow ERCOT on Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO) and Facebook (Electric Reliability Council of Texas).

• Sign up for the ERCOT mobile app (available for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play).


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