The power grid operator for the state of Texas has declared its highest possible state of emergency after a winter storm caused millions to lose power as temperatures remain at record lows.
"We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas," said Bill Magness, president and chief executive of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, in a statement.
"At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units," he continued. "We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time."
ERCOT is calling on Texans who do have power to try and conserve energy by unplugging their nonessential electronics and appliances, reducing the use of larger appliances, and keeping thermostats below 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Texas Public Utility Commission on Monday approved ERCOT to adjust its pricing models in response to demand.
"The Commission believes this outcome is inconsistent with the fundamental design of the ERCOT market," the commission said in the order, according to NBC4i. "Energy prices should reflect the scarcity of the supply. If customer load is being shed, scarcity is at its maximum, and the market price for the energy needed to serve that load should also be at its highest."
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