Power Watch: High Electricity Demand Predicted Today
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 have restricted reserves available today due to several unplanned generation outages,” Vice President of System Planning and Operations Kent Saathoff said. “We don’t anticipate any electricity emergencies today, but any additional generation outages or higher-than-expected loads could reduce our reserves below minimum levels.”
If reserves drop below certain levels, ERCOT operators can implement a series of progressive steps in the Energy Emergency Alert procedures that will provide additional emergency resources at each level.
The peak electricity demand is expected to be more than 63,200 megawatts (MW) today. The current record for peak demand is 63,453 MW which occurred July 13, 2009. (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
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.
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
For Utility Information
Check your electric bill to identify your utility company or transmission provider.
Investor-Owned Utilities (Transmission & Distribution)
American Electric Power 877-373-4858
CenterPoint Energy 800-752-8036
Sharyland Utilities 956-668-9551
Texas-New Mexico Power 888-866-7456
Community-Owned Electric Utilities
Texas Public Power Association, http://www.tppa.com/
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.