AUSTIN, Texas — This week, the State of Texas set a record for energy use during peak hours. Now, the governing body for energy over most of the state, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), is warning people to use less.
Peak hours are considered 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. when the heat of the day builds up. On Aug. 12, ERCOT reported 74,531 megawatts used during peak demand. At 78,000, they start to implement rolling blackouts across the state.
That's why ERCOT is warning people to conserve their power.
Rolling blackouts are something the general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) – which supplies energy for much of Central Texas – is hoping doesn't happen.
"It's not a great place to be, so it's important that we take these actions right now, we're thoughtful about it, we don't create an unintended consequence for the system and we all work together," GM Phil Wilson said. "We would have protocols through ERCOT that would allow us to shift power from various parts of the state. They would be without electricity and so about increments of about 15 minutes, they would roll through. Which is why we're having these conversations to be thoughtful to make sure we don't get to that scenario."
Here are a few tips to keep energy use low:
- Set thermostats two to three degrees higher and set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home
- Use fans to feel four to six degrees cooler
- Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight and shut off from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances
- Avoid using large appliances like ovens and washing machines
- Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible
- Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes
The LCRA produces around 3,000 megawatts all over the region at facilities like the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant.
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