This summer, those moving to Texas will also feel the stress of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has shut down businesses, gatherings and social events across the world. Here’s what you should know about how Texas is dealing with the coronavirus.
The Texas state governor put a stay-at-home order into place on April 2, but this order expired on April 30, less than a month later. The state is currently in phase one of reopening. “Vulnerable” populations are encouraged to stay home, and state officials are still urging Texans to wear masks or facial coverings and to adhere to all social distancing practices.
In terms of choosing an energy plan, electricity demand normally skyrockets in the summer when heat waves hit the state and consumers crank up the AC. ERCOT (the grid operator in Texas) has assured Texans that it should be capable of meeting summer electricity demands. If extreme temperatures or natural disasters (such as hurricanes) hit Texas hard, ERCOT may issue Energy Emergency Alerts (EEAs).
Its also important to mention the moratorium put in place by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) in March. This emergency plan came in response to COVID-19 and its economic impact on unemployed or low-income Texans.
Under this moratorium, eligible Texas households are protected from electricity and water shutoffs and are promised extended due dates and flexible payment options from utilities. While the moratorium was initially expected to last six months, the PUCT recently announced plans to end it as early as July. While this may not affect all Texas households, it is certainly worth noting for anyone moving to the region.
Caitlin Ritchie is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.