You probably saw this coming. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is asking people to curb their electricity usage Monday between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Expect to hear that same request most of this week with temperatures approaching 110 through Wednesday and not much cooler on Thursday and Friday.
“The ERCOT region is continuing to experience record high temperatures throughout the state, which is causing high electricity usage,” said Kent Saathoff, ERCOT’s vice president of system planning and operations. ”At this time, we expect to be tight over the peak hours today between 4-5 p.m., which means that significant generation outages could make us short of operating reserves.”
ERCOT said system demand at 3 p.m. Monday was 66,117 megawatts – above the all-time record of 65,776 MW that occurred Aug. 23, 2010. Peak usage usually occurs around 5 p.m. most days, so hitting this peak so early in the day is a bit surprising.
Adding to the problem is that a large power plant capable of producing 600 megawatts of power went offline unexpectedly Monday morning and didn't come back online as quickly as possible.
If reserves drop below a certain number, ERCOT will initiate emergency procedures which could include rolling blackouts as a last resort.
ERCOT offers these conservation tips:
• When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans to cool the air.
• 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.