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Interim ERCOT CEO talks state power grid at Texas Tribune Festival

Brad Jones touched on a number of topics including why Texas residents may be seeing higher electric bills and the 2021 power crisis.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Tribune Festival is underway in Downtown Austin. The festival includes conversations with hundreds of speakers shaping politics and other important Texas issues.

On Friday, the interim CEO of ERCOT and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the stage.

Interim CEO Brad Jones touched on a number of topics including why Texas residents may be seeing higher electric bills this summer, the 2021 power crisis and conservation efforts.

Jones said people may have noticed higher electric bills this summer. He said it is because of a number of factors, including higher consumption from residential users. 

Consumption was up 30% in July this year compared to last year. He also said higher natural gas prices are playing a role.

Jones also touched on the 2021 power grid crisis. He said that, since then, ERCOT has been working to make sure the state never sees anything like that again.

Jones also reminded people to conserve during critical situations.

“Conservation is good for you, it lowers your bill, it's better for the environment. It is good for you to conserve, but I am not going to ask you to do that unless I really need your help because I want to minimize the times I ask, the very small amount of occurrences. So if you ran your home at 68 degrees most of the time, I would be quite alright with you doing that as long as you continue to help us when we need it," said Jones.

Pablo Vegas, a utility executive from Ohio, will take over duties as the ERCOT CEO on Oct. 1.

The Texas Tribune Festival runs until Saturday. More than 350 speakers are in Downtown Austin for the event.

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