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Blackouts in Texas possible again as heatwave drives up power demand

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Posted at 7:30 AM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 16:55:09-04

A Texas heat wave is sparking concerns that the state’s power grid could crumble again.

Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings are in place in Texas as temperatures were expected to reach at high as 110 degrees on Monday. In Austin, the temperature was expected to come close to the all-time July record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in the city.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is asking businesses and citizens to conserve power in the afternoon and evening. The group said it is not expecting widespread outages, but rolling blackouts are possible.

As the Texas Tribune reported, Texas power grid operator ERCOT asked Texans to reduce air conditioning use if possible and delay using major appliances during the day.

Also nearly all industrial-scale Bitcoin miners in Texas shut off equipment to help with conserving power, Bloomberg reported. According to the Texas Tribune, rolling blackouts were not expected to happen this week, authorities said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was not as optimistic.

“I have asked all City departments to prepare in case the state’s power grid fails during extreme heat tomorrow,” he said.

The state encountered massive power outages in February 2021 when record cold weather overwhelmed the grid. With a lack of heat, residents reported pipes bursting, exacerbating the impact.