During the extreme winter storm that triggered widespread blackouts by ERCOT across the state in February, a programme intended to conserve energy during times of high electricity demand actually shut off some of Texas’ natural gas supply to customers. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of the state’s power grid, has confirmed that it has enabled a programme that rewards major industrial power users for reducing their energy use during emergencies.
It’s a scheme similar to those used in other countries, in which utilities and grid operators incentivize factories and industrial buildings to reduce their power consumption, a condition that typically happens during the summer or winter. ERCOT, on the other hand, said it had no idea who was involved in the initiative or what kinds of facilities were being shut down.
Natural gas infrastructure firms were among the facilities whose gas supply was cut, according to a Journal review of the grid data. This resulted in a further decrease in natural gas supply, resulting in a shortage during a time of severe cold when a larger supply was needed. Following the February storm, which left more than 4 million people without electricity for days, several lawsuits have been filed against ERCOT.