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As Temperatures Soar, Governor Urges Electricity Conservation

ercot_control_room.jpg
ERCOT
Technicians at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT, control the flow of electricity through Texas' power grid.

 

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday made this appeal to Texans: Curb your electricity use, if you can – for the grid’s sake.

More specifically, the Republican is asking Texans to power down electronics in the coming days between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., a time of day when demand typically peaks.

The plea comes as Texans have cranked up their air conditioners to battle the oppressive heat, putting record-breaking demands on the state’s energy resources.

“In order to mitigate stress on our state’s electricity grid, Texans should take simple measures to save as much energy as possible,” Abbott said in a statement.

Texans continue to break records for electricity demand.  The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the grid covering most of the state, on Monday said it briefly handled nearly 70,000 megawatts of demand that day, breaking a peak-time record of nearly 69,000 megawatts set just four days earlier.

(On average, a megawatt-hour of solar energy can power as many as 100 Texas homes for an hour on the hottest summer day. During average temperatures, it can power many times more.)

Grid operators say the system has handled those demands well thus far.

The council has offered these recommendations for cutting power use:

  • Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances and electronic equipment.
  • 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, coffeemakers, 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 late evening, not during peak demand hours.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/08/12/abbott-texans-try-use-less-power/.