Will coronavirus impact power grid?

Posted at 7:57 PM, Mar 23, 2020

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — ERCOT, the organization that maintains Texas's power grid, addressed two common concerns regarding the novel coronavirus, COVID 19, and it's potential impacts on the grid.

“We are monitoring any changes to ERCOT’s load; however, it is too early to determine COVID-19’s impact on electric load patterns,” ERCOT Communications Manager Leslie Sopko said in a written statement.

Sopko was addressing concerns that scores of people working from home because of coronavirus fears will create a need for electricity that the power grid can't handle. It could be a couple of months before ERCOT will announce whether or not that's the case.

"Any changes to the summer peak load forecast will be announced when we release our final summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy in early May," her statement continued.

Sopko also addressed a second concern people have voiced to KRIS 6 recently regarding the power grid and coronavirus. They worry that if a large number of ERCOT workers got sick at the same time, they might not be able to do their jobs, and it could lead to blackouts.

Sopko said ERCOT is going to great lengths to ensure that its workers stay healthy.

"Effective March 18, employees and contractors who do not need to be on-site to perform their job responsibilities are required to work from home through May 3," she said in her statement. "We have also implemented security measures for those who must work on-site, including temperature screening for staff prior to being granted access to any ERCOT facility. For our control room operations, we are alternating facilities and have implemented procedures to enhance social distancing for grid operators."