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Texas power grid operator tells customers to save electricity after six plants stop working

A Texas power grid operator told residents to conserve electricity Friday after six power plants went out amid soaring temperatures.

Brad Jones, CEO of the Texas Electrical Reliability Council, said in a statement that the company lost nearly 2,900 megawatts of electricity — or enough to power nearly 600,000 homes, The Texas Tribune reported,.

Jones noted the unusually hot weather, saying it’s driving demand for power across the state. Temperatures close to 100 degrees were forecast from Austin to Dallas over the weekend and into next week.

Jones did not say why the factories were shutting down, and a spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment Friday night.

The executive asked customers to set their thermostats to 78 degrees and to avoid using large appliances in the afternoon and early evening.

The energy nonprofit, which operates 90 percent of Texas’ electric grid, faced harsh criticism last year after a power outage left millions without power for days during freezing temperatures.

The company blamed frozen equipment for an accident that killed more than 200 people, many of them from carbon monoxide poisoning as they tried to stay warm. Others froze to death.

The company’s CEO has been fired and six members of the board of directors – including the chairperson and chairman – have resigned.

State legislators responded with a raft of legislation aimed at making the network more resilient to a harsh winter storm.

Nearly a year later, an investigation by NBC News and the Texas Tribune found that the network remained vulnerable, with new regulations allowing companies to avoid improvements.

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