HOUSTON – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s main power grid, has a dashboard that allows residents to track current conditions and usage.
The timestamp of each dashboard indicates when the information was last updated, according to ERCOT’s website.
In the image below captured in the 2 p.m. hour on July 11, the red circle identifies where you can look on each chart to find the timestamp. The red arrow points to the button to click to expand each featured item when you are on the dashboard. An explanation of the data, including what the numbers and lines mean for each chart, can be found by clicking “Full View”.
The current Grid Conditions meter is color-coded with green indicating normal conditions. Yellow indicates energy conservation is required. Orange, red, and black correlate to Energy Emergency Levels 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Controlled outages are part of level 3.
What happens when ERCOT goes into Emergency Mode?
Currently, as of Monday, the grid conditions in Texas are in the green, which means there is enough power to meet the current demand.
When the electric supply can’t be balanced, that’s when things will change.
When the reserves hit 2,300, that’s an indication that things are getting serious. If the operating reserves drop below 2,300 megawatts and are not expected to recover within 30 minutes, ERCOT would issue an emergency level one alert, meaning there is a risk of controlled outages.
Another number to watch for is 1,750 megawatts... anything less would trigger an energy emergency level 2, which means ERCOT could reduce demand on the system by interrupting power from large industrial customers who’ve contractually agreed to have their electricity turned off during an emergency.
When reserves drop below 1,000 megawatts, that would take us to an emergency level 3, and we would be looking at controlled, rotating outages. More prolonged outages may also be necessary to balance supply and demand on the grid.
To learn more, you can find a description for each level under the “Full View” on this chart.