News Release

June 25, 2009

Record Electricity Demand Predicted Today: Update*

Power Watch - Conservation Encouraged

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 the state," Vice President of System Planning and Operations Kent Saathoff said. "We don’t anticipate any electricity emergencies but due to the effect of some unplanned generation outages, we expect to have minimal reserves available, which could increase the possibility that we will declare an advisory or further steps in the Energy Emergency Alert procedures. We will be monitoring the grid very closely."

The peak electricity demand could be close to 62,500 megawatts (MW) today, although a sudden rain or cloud cover over a large metropolitan 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: www.puc.state.tx.us/agency/conserve/Constips.aspx

*Update: No Record Today; Peak Demand Today 41 Megawatts Shy of All-Time Record

ERCOT did not break the peak demand record today, and the electric load is heading down.

The high demand for today was 62,298 megawatts (MW) during 3-4 pm. Electricity demand dropped to 62,266 during the 4-5 pm hour.

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.)

Currently, ERCOT is not anticipating record-breaking demand tomorrow (June 26). 

 

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

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
Oncor 888-313-4747
Sharyland Utilities 956-668-9551
Texas-New Mexico Power 888-866-7456

Outside ERCOT
Entergy-Texas 800-968-8243

Community-Owned Electric Utilities
Texas Public Power Association, http://www.tppa.com/

Utility Directories
http://www.puc.state.tx.us/industry/electric/directories/Default.aspx

ERCOT Market Participants
http://www.ercot.com/mktparticipants/index.html

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

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 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 710+ 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