- Six power plants went offline unexpectedly on Friday.
- Temperatures will hit triple digits in some areas.
- The state power grid operator has been widely criticized after widespread winter outages in 2021.
Texans are urged to conserve energy through the weekend after six power plants unexpectedly went offline on Friday amid a continuing early-season heat wave that will set records in some areas in the next days.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as ERCOT, said in a statement Friday that people should set their thermostats at 78 degrees or higher to limit air conditioning use when they can and avoid use large appliances such as dishwashers, washers and dryers during peak hours between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
No reason was given as to why the factories went offline. An ERCOT spokesperson told the Texas Tribune that power outages are not expected over the weekend.
ERCOT manages the power supply in Texas and was widely criticized after widespread power outages during extremely cold temperatures last year. The state health department blamed 246 deaths on the cold. Many of them were linked to power outages, including carbon monoxide poisoning and people dying due to freezing temperatures in their homes.
As of early Saturday afternoon, the network was running at full power with no shortages, according to a dashboard on ERCOT’s website.
Texas is entrenched in a heat wave that will increase in intensity over the next few days as a high pressure dome moves back south. Daily records will be set in Texas every day over the coming week.
At least one record was set Friday in Wichita Falls. Temperatures will hit the 100s from Sunday, with the heat increasing at least through the middle of the week.
It is not uncommon for power companies to ask consumers to save energy during heat waves, and such requests are likely to become more common.
Temperatures in the lower 48 states are expected to be above average by summer, and especially this month in the southwest.
(AFTER: Heat is the #1 weather killer in America)
The heat doesn’t have to be extreme to be dangerous. And remember that during power outages, generators should never be used near or inside homes or other enclosed spaces, including garages and porches.
Here are some tips from the CDC to help you stay safe in hot weather, especially for young children, the elderly, or people with pre-existing health conditions that make them more vulnerable:
-Stay indoors with air conditioning as much as possible.
-Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, even when you are not thirsty.
-Plan outdoor activities carefully.
– Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured clothing.
-Don’t overwork yourself.
-Take cool showers or baths.
-Check your friends or neighbors.
-Never leave children or pets in cars.
The primary journalistic mission of The Weather Company is to report on the latest weather news, the environment and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.