Texas has been in a tight spot for a while due to problems with outages in the power grid. In response, Governor Greg Abbott requested Texans to cut their energy, despite being in the middle of a heatwave.
The “conservation appeal” issued on Monday by Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) explained that there were no major outages expected, but that civilians should consider reducing their electricity use from 2-8 pm local time. ERCOT reported “record high electric demand” during the heatwave and low wind to power turbines as “driving the need for this important action by customers.”
ERCOT also asked Texans to reduce the use of appliances with high energy consumption, lower their thermostats, and to avoid the use of pool pumps during the mentioned six-hour period.
Democratic candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke called out Abbott for this situation on social media. “The governor of the 9th largest economy on earth — the energy capital of the world — can’t guarantee the power will stay on tomorrow,” he mentioned in a Tweet. “We need change.”
This is not the first time ERCOT asks Texans to reduce their electricity consumption, either. When six power plants shut down after a heatwave, a similar request was made, according to reporting from The Texas Tribune.
Renae Eze, Abbott’s press secretary, and senior communications advisor mentioned that Texan power plants are being put under a strain due to record summer temperatures.
“Since May, Texas has set and broken power demand records 26 times without any systemwide issues or disruptions for the more than 26 million Texans served by the electric grid,” Eze said, adding that the grid has withstood these strains “in large part because of the reforms passed last session and the increase in power generation by more than 15% over last year.”
Despite the power grid and sudden outages being a problem in Texas for a while now, Abbott has done little to attempt to actually fix it. Many criticize the fact that instead of holding multinational companies or factories accountable for their extreme energy use, Abbott and ERCOT place the blame back on the citizens, asking them not to use their AC in record-high temperatures to cool down.
O’Rourke has been critical of Abbott’s actions regarding electricity since the start, specifically when a major grid outage in 2021 left 70,000 people without electricity during a powerful winter storm.
“We now know that the Texas government’s repeated failure to modernize our energy systems killed over 700 Texans in February’s winter storm,” O’Rourke mentioned at the time.
Part of Beto O’Rourke’s campaign run has consisted of the promise that, if elected, he will make sure to fix the power grid problem in Texas to ensure that these catastrophic situations won’t happen again and that they won’t have to ask the population to cut off their air conditioners or pool pumps.