Due to extreme heat and low wind, Texas’ power grid operator asked residents to reduce their energy use from 3-10 p.m. Aug. 24. This is the third time officials have requested conservation in the past seven days.

Large parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston metropolitan areas are under extreme or exceptional droughts.

What you need to know

Texans should conserve energy from 3-10 p.m. “if safe to do so,” the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said in a news release. Conservation is entirely voluntary, and this is not an emergency alert.

However, ERCOT’s forecast indicates “a high potential to enter emergency operations this evening” due to high demand for energy and a lower amount of wind and solar power. The demand was forecast to briefly exceed the supply between 7:40-8:30 p.m. Aug. 24, according to the agency’s supply and demand dashboard.

Officials said Texans can help maintain the power grid by conserving energy.

All state and local government agencies should “implement all programs to reduce energy use,” the release said. ERCOT is also using power reserves, making generation available earlier and working with out-of-state agencies to access additional resources.

No systemwide power outages are expected Aug. 24, according to a news release. Texans who experience outages can check with their local utility providers or contact the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ hotline by calling 888-782-8477 or emailing [email protected].

A “weather watch” is in effect through Aug. 27 to alert Texans of the grid and weather conditions. No action is needed during a weather watch.

How you can help

During the summer, officials recommend Texans set their thermostats to 80 degrees Fahrenheit if they are away from their home or business for at least four hours.

According to ERCOT and the PUC, Texans should also:
  • Close blinds and curtains to prevent direct sunlight from heating up rooms
  • Use ceiling and portable fans to circulate air
  • Limit the use of large appliances before 8 p.m.
  • Turn off lights when not in use
ERCOT will send out an additional alert if conditions worsen. Texans can sign up for conservation notices and emergency alerts here.

Extremely dry weather

Nearly all of Texas is impacted by a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Data from Aug. 22 shows:
  • The Dallas-Fort Worth area is under severe or extreme drought.
  • The Austin area is under extreme or exceptional drought.
  • The San Antonio area is under extreme or exceptional drought.
  • The Houston area is under extreme drought.