News Release

July 08, 2009

Power Watch: High Electricity Demand Predicted Today

Power Watch: Conservation Needed

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 don’t anticipate any electricity emergencies today, but we have restricted reserves available today due to several unplanned generation outages,” Vice President of System Planning and Operations Kent Saathoff said.   “Any additional generation outages or higher-than-expected loads could reduce our reserves below minimum levels.”  

If reserves drop below certain levels, the grid operator 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 could be close to 62,000 megawatts (MW) today, although a sudden rain or cloud cover over a large metropolitan area could reduce temperatures and electricity demand,” Saathoff said.  “Also, we typically see a reduction in electricity load after 3 p.m. when demand response programs on the retail provider side start kicking in.” 

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 

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

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