Fact checkers are frantically debunking a parody video after a comedian claiming to be a Texas power grid official asked citizens to choose between “AC or AOC”.
“You know, we got a hot little grid out there, and we gotta take care of it or it’s gonna bust,” the comedian, Blaire Erskine, said whilst imposing as a spokesperson for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
“I mean, would you rather have AC or would you rather have AOC?” she asked Texans. “Think about that for a little bit and it’ll start to make sense.”
The message was a joke, but it apparently came too close to reality for some Twitter users.
“THIS is their spokesperson????” one person asked in horror.
“How about connecting Texas to the national power grid so we can get away from idiots like this from ERCOT,” another fumed.
Texas is the only state that manages its electricity separately from the national power grid. The state’s independent grid is run by ERCOT, which was heavily criticized last winter as millions of Texans lost power amid a record cold snap.
Now, as the weather gets hotter, a high number of power plants in the state have faced outages, and the real-life ERCOT has asked Texans to conserve electricity.
“ERCOT has issued a Conservation Alert, and Texans are being asked to safely reduce their electric use,” the organisation said on Monday.
In her video, Ms Erskine appeared to be poking fun at that request.
“So we’re just asking the people of Texas to make small sacrifices, just little sacrifices, no blood or anything like that,” she said. “Because Texas is set up on a power grid. And what the power grid does, what a power grid is, is... Well, it’s something different to everybody, and that’s what you gotta understand.”
On social media, so many people appeared to believe Ms Erskine’s inept character was a real ERCOT official that the fact checker Snopes felt compelled to debunk the video. By late Tuesday, the phrase “AC or AOC” was trending online.
As some on Twitter pointed out, it is perhaps a disturbing sign for Texas officials that so many people thought the video was real.
“This is a comedian, but it says a lot about Republicans that you think it’s legit,” one person tweeted on Tuesday.