News Release

August 04, 2008

Power Watch; Electric Grid Operator Predicting Record Electricity Demand

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of the state, and the Public Utility Commission, are encouraging consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use today during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. due to expected high electricity usage.   

“We are expecting high electricity demand today due to the heat advisory in effect for much of North Central and South Central Texas,” Vice President of System Operations Kent Saathoff said.  “We don’t anticipate any electricity emergencies, but due to the effect of any unexpected generation outages, we will be monitoring the grid very closely.” 

The peak electricity demand could be over 63,000 megawatts (MW) today, although rain forecast for the Houston area could reduce temperatures and demand.  The current record for peak demand is 62,339 MW which occurred Aug. 17, 2006.  (One megawatt typically powers about 200 average homes during hot summer weather.) 

Businesses and consumers are encouraged to:

  • Set air conditioning thermostats to 80 degrees or higher.

  • Cool with fans.

  • Close blinds and drapes on windows that get direct sun.
  • Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
  • Avoid using big appliances between the hours of 3 to 7 p.m.  

See more conservation tips at “Powerful Advice,” Public Utility Commission of Texas: http://www.puc.state.tx.us/agency/conserve/Constips.aspx 

Aug. 4, 2008, 5:30 pm Update:

The peak demand for the ERCOT region today was 62,124* megawatts (MW) during the 4-5 pm hour, marking the highest demand so far this year, but not surpassing the all-time record of 62,339 MW (Aug. 17, 2006). Tomorrow’s peak demand forecast is in the 58,000 MW range, reduced primarily due to the effects of the approaching tropical storm. 

*Preliminary number based on initial calculations using data from throughout the transmission network.   It is subject to change until the market’s financial settlement process is completed six months after the operating day. 

BACKGROUND

Power Watches are issued by the regional electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), during periods of high demand when supplies of reserve power are low.  At this stage, ERCOT has emergency measures to bring on additional generation, so rotating outages are not likely.  However, if all sources of supplies are exhausted or large generation outages occur, ERCOT will order utilities to begin reducing load by cutting service through rotating outages. 

ERCOT REGION

The ERCOT region includes Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Abilene and the Rio Grande Valley.  It does not include the El Paso area, the Texas Panhandle, Northeast Texas (Longview, Marshall and Texarkana), and Southeast Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur, and the Woodlands).  Region map: http://www.ercot.com/news/mediakit/maps/index.html 

HELPFUL CONTACTS

Conservation Tips

http://www.puc.state.tx.us/agency/conserve/Constips.aspx 

For Utility Information

Check your electric bill to identify your utility company or transmission provider.
Map of transmission providers in Texas 

Investor-Owned Utilities (Transmission & Distribution)

American Electric Power - AEP

CenterPoint Energy

Oncor

Sharyland Utilities

Texas-New Mexico Power  

Community-Owned Electric Utilities

Texas Public Power Association, http://www.tppa.com/ 

Utility Directories

http://www.puc.state.tx.us/electric/directories/index.cfm 

ERCOT Market Participants

http://www.ercot.com/mktparticipants/index.html

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 650+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas.

ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.

Contact

media@ercot.com

512-275-7432