The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the state's bulk transmission grid, is asking consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. today and the rest of the week and weekend.
"The ERCOT region is continuing to experience record-high temperatures throughout the state which is causing high electricity usage," said Kent Saathoff, vice president of system planning and operations. "We have lost some additional generation, as well, so there is a good chance we will need to implement the first stage of our emergency procedures today."
Peak electricity demand is forecast to be more than 67,000 MW today. The current all-time peak demand record is 68,294 MW, which occurred on Aug. 3, 2011. Prior to this year, the record was 65,776 MW, Aug. 23, 2010. One megawatt powers about 200 average homes in Texas during summer conditions.
"We're expecting more high temperatures Thursday and through the weekend, so we may have more emergency procedures later in the week and weekend," Saathoff said. "Until we get a break in this extreme heat and record drought, we appreciate consumers and businesses conserving electricity as they are able, especially between 3 and 7 p.m.
Consumers can help by shutting off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances between 3 and 7 p.m., and delaying laundry and other activities requiring electricity-consuming appliances until later in the evening. Other conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission's "Powerful Advice" include:
Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans in occupied rooms to feel cooler.
When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.
Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.
Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.
Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.
Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible. Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.