The Electric Reliability Council of Texas

ERCOT oversees more than 90% of Texas' power load.

ERCOT is responsible for monitoring the majority of the state's power grid and ensuring the power supply meets consumer demand.  ERCOT can issue alerts and declare energy emergencies if needed.  ERCOT can issue alerts asking electric consumers to conserve electricity during times of high demand.  Even though an alert for conservation is issued, it does not mean that a load shed event will occur.  When forced outages (load shed events) occur, Central Texas Electric Co-op must comply with the load shed procedures as instructed by ERCOT.  Central Texas Electric Co-op does not control if, when, or how long the load shed event will last.  Central Texas Electric Co-op gets little to no warning when load shed events will occur. 

Frequently Asked Questions About ERCOT

Forced outages are load shed events controlled by ERCOT to reduce the demand of electricity on the power grid. They may also be referred to as blackouts, rolling blackouts, or controlled outages. Load shed events occur when the demand for electricity exceeds the power supply available and voluntary conservation efforts were not enough to reduce the strain on the electric grid. ERCOT will require forced outages on electric consumers to reduce the demand of electricity to maintain the integrity of the electric grid.

When forced outages (load shed events) occur, Central Texas Electric Co-op must comply with the load shed procedures as instructed by ERCOT.  Central Texas Electric Co-op does not control if, when, or how long the load shed event will last.  Central Texas Electric Co-op gets little to no warning when load shed events will occur. 

As always, Central Texas Electric Co-op will monitor ERCOT grid conditions and conservation requests or energy emergencies. If emergency requests that involve forced outages for consumers are made by ERCOT, Central Texas Electric Co-op will comply with those as required and will send notifications as quickly as humanly possible*. Please ensure the contact information on your account are correct. You can do that here.

You are also encouraged to sign up to receive push notifications directly from ERCOT. You can do this by downloading the ERCOT app (Google Play or App Store) and enable push notifications for alerts.

*Please note: Notices are sent out as quickly as humanly possible, but the situation on the grid can change very quickly. If ERCOT's reserve margins reach critical condition and ERCOT calls for load shed, the outages may begin before all notifications are able to be sent out and phone line may become overwhelmed. 

During load shed events, we are unable to tell you when you will be without power, how long the forced outages will last or when power will be restored since those answers depend on many factors outside of Central Texas Electric Co-op's control.  We will share the most current information we have received from ERCOT with you.

While you are without power, we ask that you turn your AC unit and any other large appliances or motors to the OFF position. Because those items use large amounts of electricity when power comes back on, turning them off helps prevent the system from being overloaded when power is restored. Overloading on the system can cause additional outages.

Please help by conserving electricity in any way you can. This is important as long as ERCOT forced outages are in place.

Spring and Summer Conservation Tips:

  • Turn up your thermostat 2-3 degrees from 3 to 7 p.m.; Adjust the thermostat even higher if no one will be home during the day.

  • If home, use fans to feel 4-6 degrees cooler. Turn the fans off if no one is in the room.

  • Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight; program them to shut off from 3 to 7 p.m., since these are typically peak hours for summer months.

  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.

  • Avoid using large appliances, especially during peak hours.

  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

 

Winter Conservation Tips:

  • Turn down your thermostat to 68° in the daytime and 55° at night or when you're away from home.

  • When at home, open blinds and shades during sunny days to take advantage of the sun's natural heat.

  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.

  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.

  • Avoid using large appliances.

  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

If someone in your home depends on an electrically operated health aid, sign up for Central Texas Electric Co-op's Life Support Registry.   Please note, Central Texas Electric Co-op's Life Support Registry does not guarantee there will be no power interruptions. Power outages happen for many reasons that may be out of the cooperative's control. It is recommended for members on the Life Support Registry to ensure they have secondary power or a back up plan in the event of prolonged outages.

 

ERCOT Press Releases

Statement by Electric Reliability Council of Texas Interim CEO, Brad Jones on current grid conditions

AUSTIN, TX, May. 13, 2022 - With unseasonably hot weather driving record demand across Texas, ERCOT continues to work closely with the power industry to make sure Texans have the power they need. This afternoon, six power generation facilities tripped offline resulting in the loss of approximately 2,900 MW of electricity. At this time, all generation resources available are operating. We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78-degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers and dryers) during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. through the weekend.

Resource: Thermal Performance: (% of installed as of 4:00 p.m.) 50,703 (66%)

Resource: Wind Performance: (% of installed as of 4:00 p.m.) 5,859 (17%)

Resource: Solar Performance: (% of installed as of 4:00 p.m.) 8,333 (73%)

ERCOT Issues Winter Weather Watch Through Sun., Feb. 6

Texans reminded to contact local utilities for power outage issues

AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 2, 2022 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has issued a Watch effective through Sunday, Feb. 6 as winter weather moves into Texas. ERCOT is forecasting high energy demand for the duration of the winter weather. This cold front will bring freezing temperatures and precipitation to the ERCOT region. ERCOT is taking action ahead of the expected increase in demand to ensure grid reliability. On Friday, Jan. 28, ERCOT issued an Operating Condition Notice (OCN) to the electricity market for extreme winter weather. ERCOT projects to have sufficient generation to meet the high demand for electricity.

“ERCOT is using all the tools available to manage the grid effectively during this winter weather,” said Interim CEO Brad Jones. “ERCOT will deploy all the resources and aggressively implement the tools available to us to manage the grid reliably during this winter weather. We will continue coordinating closely with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Public Utility Commission, the Railroad Commission and elected officials — as well as electric generators and transmission and distribution utilities — to keep Texans informed throughout the week.”

ERCOT has implemented many reforms to increase the reliability of the Texas grid:

- Inspected generating units and transmission and distribution facilities for weatherization to comply with new PUC requirements. ERCOT has inspected hundreds of electric generation units and transmission facilities and found only 3 with any deficiencies.
- Requiring CEO attestations of weather readiness. A rule change implemented last year requires all market participants who own or operate generation resources and/or transmission/distribution power lines to submit a letter signed by their CEO twice a year certifying their companies have completed their weatherization preparations to protect the electric grid for the summer and winter seasons.
- Taking a more conservative approach to operating the grid. ERCOT’s grid management is at its most aggressive since the market was created two decades ago. ERCOT is increasing operational reserves to ensure adequate generation is available to Texas homes and businesses and is bringing more generation online sooner if it is needed to balance supply and demand. The grid operator is also purchasing more reserve power, especially on days when the weather forecast is uncertain.
- Assessing on-site fuel supplies. ERCOT has assessed the on-site fuel supply for some gas-fired generators.
- Performing unannounced testing of generation resources. This testing helps verify that generators have provided accurate information about their availability.

“While grid conditions remain strong with enough capacity, our weather forecasts show there is potential for significant frozen precipitation behind this week’s cold front,” said Jones. “With frozen precipitation there is always a chance for local outages caused by things like ice on wires or fallen tree limbs. These local outages are not related to the amount of available electricity generated and put on the grid. Texans should contact their utility in the event they experience a localized outage.”

Final Winterization Report: Texas Grid Ready for Winter Weather Operations

AUSTIN, TX, Jan. 18, 2022 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) today filed its final winter weatherization readiness report of the season with the Public Utility Commission of Texas. The report shows 321 out of 324 electric generation units and transmission facilities fully passed inspection for new winterization regulations from the Commission.

“The Texas electric grid is more prepared for winter operations than ever before,” said Interim ERCOT CEO Brad Jones.

ERCOT conducted onsite inspections at 302 electric generation units during December, representing 85 percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities. Three resources have been identified for further review but remain operational. They represent approximately 0.4 percent of the total ERCOT generation fleet.

“We are confident these 321 inspected facilities either meet or go beyond the new requirements from the Commission and we will continue to work with the other 3 facilities to ensure they correct remaining deficiencies,” said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT Vice President of System Planning and Weatherization. “Our teams spent thousands of hours preparing for and conducting these 324 on-site inspections to ensure the electric grid is prepared for winter.”

Results as of January 17, 2022: 324 ERCOT On-Site Inspections at 302 Generation Facilities and 22 Transmission Facilities

Generation Units, all deficiencies cleared - 299

Generation Units with remaining deficiencies - 3

Transmission Facilities, all deficiencies cleared - 22

Transmission Facilities with remaining deficiencies - 0


The Commission will determine any potential enforcement actions resulting from the inspections. Last year, the Texas Legislature increased the maximum penalties for violating weatherization rules to $1,000,000 per day per violation.

Electric Generation Fleet Ready for Winter Weather Following ERCOT On-site Winterization Inspections

AUSTIN, TX, Dec. 30, 2021 - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has completed on-site inspections of mandatory winterization efforts, and inspection results show the independently-owned electric generation fleet and electric transmission companies serving the ERCOT region are ready for winter weather. Inspections were completed at more than 300 electric generation units, representing 85 percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities.

ERCOT has filed a preliminary summary inspection report with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and will submit its final inspection report on January 18, 2022 for review and any potential enforcement action. Earlier this year the Legislature increased the maximum penalties for violating weatherization rules to $1,000,000 per day per violation.

“Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power,” said Woody Rickerson, Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization. “New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared.”

ERCOT does not own or operate any electric generation units or electric power lines. ERCOT, however, is responsible for balancing electric supply and demand on an electric grid that serves more than 26 million Texans representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric demand.

Of 302 generation resources inspected, some generators had exceeded PUC winterization requirements. Only ten generation resources inspected had items identified on the day of inspection requiring correction. For example, a generation unit may have needed a windscreen to be compliant, but it was not yet installed on the day of inspection. Many items like this have now been completed since the inspection occurred and all ten units are still operational. The ten generation units have a total capacity of 2,129 megawatts, representing about 1.7 percent of the total ERCOT generation fleet.

Of the 22 transmission station facilities inspected, ERCOT found that six had potential identified deficiencies, most of which have already been corrected. These were generally minor items, such as cabinet heaters out of service or missing weather stripping on cabinet doors on the day of inspection. Most of these items have already been corrected.

ERCOT will conduct follow-up inspections on the generation and transmission facilities with potential identified issues. ERCOT and its contractors have spent more than 3,600 hours on these inspection-related activities to date. Additionally, ERCOT and PUC staff are actively monitoring the compliance plans of the generation resources that requested additional time to finalize compliance with the new winterization regulations.

ERCOT preparing for Tropical Storm Nicholas

AUSTIN, TX, Sept. 13, 2021 – As Tropical Storm Nicholas bears down on Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is preparing the grid to maintain reliability in the face of rain, winds and potential flooding.

In addition to officially alerting ERCOT market participants of the weather threat, ERCOT has acted to reduce planned maintenance-related outages in the area most likely to be affected by Nicholas and instructed power companies to implement their emergency procedures in preparation for the storm.

Any power outages caused by the storm will most likely be at the local distribution level. Local outages can be caused by factors ranging from high winds toppling power poles to tree limbs falling on power lines.

Residents and businesses experiencing power outages should contact their local electric service providers to report those outages and receive updates on restoration times.

ERCOT unveils Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability

Comprehensive operations changes already underway
AUSTIN, TX, July 13, 2021 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has delivered the “Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability” to Governor Greg Abbott, members of the Texas Legislature and the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The Roadmap is a comprehensive plan that addresses operational improvements to the Texas power grid, including important legislative changes, objectives outlined in the Governor’s letter issued July 6 and other reforms.

“Change is required for ERCOT to continue to reliably serve the millions of customers and businesses that depend on us,” said ERCOT Interim President and CEO Brad Jones. “We have extensively reviewed our processes to better serve Texans and will continue to work very closely with the PUC to ensure we’re aligned in these efforts. These changes will benefit all Texans and support continued economic growth for the state of Texas."

The 60-item Roadmap is available on ERCOT.com and will be updated regularly through the end of the year.

“ERCOT’s Roadmap puts a clear focus on protecting customers while also ensuring that Texas maintains free market incentives to bring new generation to the state,” said PUC Chairman and ERCOT Board Member Peter Lake. "Texans deserve a more reliable grid, and we're aggressively moving to make that a reality."

The roadmap includes both existing and new initiatives, including:
- Taking a more aggressive operating approach. ERCOT is bringing more generation online sooner if it is needed to balance supply and demand. The grid operator is also purchasing more reserve power, especially on days when the weather forecast is uncertain.
- Requiring CEO certifications. After a rule change, all market participants who own or operate generation resources and/or transmission/distribution power lines will be required to submit a letter signed by their CEO twice a year certifying their companies have completed their weatherization preparations to protect the electric grid for the summer and winter seasons.
- Adding new requirements for generation owners. ERCOT is proposing a new market rule that requires generators to provide operational updates more frequently.
- Assessing on-site fuel supplies. ERCOT is reviewing the need for on-site fuel supplies for some generators.
- Performing unannounced testing of generation resources. This testing helps verify that generators have provided accurate information about their availability.
- Addressing transmission constraints in Rio Grande Valley. ERCOT and the PUC are initiating a process to address RGV transmission limitations and provide increased market access for resources in the Valley. This will improve reliability for customers during normal conditions and high-risk weather events.

In developing the Roadmap, Jones and the ERCOT team worked with the PUC, customers, former regulators, retired industry executives, environmental advocates and market participants to ensure all areas for improvement were considered and included.

ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state's electric load. As the Independent System Operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 710+ generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for more than 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.