New ERCOT Warning System in Place

An ERCOT sign. | Image by University of College/Shutterstock

A new tool to help provide the public with clear and reliable information about grid conditions in Texas was released Wednesday by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

ERCOT unveiled the new Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS) on May 31 as a way to keep customers informed about changes in the power supply through various communications channels, including Facebook, email, and Twitter.

The TXANS website, which the public can also access for updated information about the grid system, explains how its notifications work and provides several tips for saving energy during periods of high demand.

The notifications will not replace ERCOT’s Energy Emergency Alerts.

As The Dallas Express reported, ERCOT officials have already warned that there may be potential power shortages this summer. A shortage of dispatchable energy is predicted to occur during periods of high demand, such as when extremely high temperatures strike the Lone Star State.

Population growth hasn’t been matched by the grid’s on-demand dispatchable power supply.

While it isn’t believed that energy emergencies will occur for very long, if at all, TXANS will help ensure that the public is up to date on grid conditions.

“Keeping Texans informed earlier adds a new level of awareness on grid conditions and any public action that may be needed,” ERCOT President and CEO Pablo Vegas explained, according to NBC 5.

One of the key notifications provided by TXANS is the ERCOT Weather Watch.

By monitoring forecasted conditions, TXANS might issue a Weather Watch up to five days before an expected weather event. This would inform the public that higher demand for power is expected in the near future and advise them to be on the look for further updates.

This feature works closely with the Supply and Demand dashboard‘s six-day forecast, which provides a graphic for a better understanding of the forecasted demand and the available capacity.

Another notification offered by TXANS is the Voluntary Conservation Notice.

This notification might urge Texans to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption during peak times to relieve strain on the grid. Meant as a proactive measure to prevent power troubles, a Voluntary Conservation Notice doesn’t mean an energy emergency has occurred.

Several energy-saving tips are listed on ERCOT’s website, such as shutting off pool pumps at peak hours, avoiding the use of large appliances, and using ceiling fans to circulate air instead of AC units.

TXANS joins several other new tools to give the public more transparency about the condition of the power grid.

Dashboards offering real-time snapshots of system-wide demand, energy source type, localized prices, and more can be found here.

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