Ahead of the cold weather, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid, issued an operating condition notice Dec. 16. The notice informs transmission and distribution owners of the “predicted extreme cold weather event.”
According to a news release, extremely cold weather occurs when temperatures reach 25 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Temperatures will dip below 25 degrees in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas next week, while the low temperature in Houston will be 26 degrees, AccuWeather reported.
The projected low temperature in Austin will be 21 degrees, with a low of 22 degrees in San Antonio and 16 degrees in Dallas.
The power grid will have “sufficient generation to meet forecasted demand,” the release said.
“Providing Texans with a reliable electric grid is our highest priority. As we monitor weather conditions, we want to assure Texans that the grid is resilient and reliable,” ERCOT President Pablo Vegas said in the release. “We will keep the public informed as weather conditions change throughout the coming week.”
As the demand for energy increases in Texas, officials have assured residents the lights will stay on this winter. ERCOT and its regulator, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, face heavy distrust and criticism from all sides—largely due to the grid’s inability to withstand Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. Over two-thirds of Texans lost power during the storm and nearly half lost access to running water, according to previous reporting by Community Impact.
According to the release, the council has completed a variety of improvements to the grid, including the weatherizing and inspecting power generation facilities, scheduling maintenance for all equipment, and increasing communication with other state agencies.
The PUC is also completing a redesign of the state’s wholesale electricity market, as required by state law.