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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas manages the stability of the electric grid in Texas by adjusting supply to meet energy demand. If demand exceeds supply, then ERCOT takes steps to reduce energy demand.
Given the forecast for temperatures in the upper 90s in the coming days, the demand for energy could be reaching peak annual levels as air conditioners work to keep homes and offices cool. High electric use could lead ERCOT to take steps to reduce demand, which could include energy conversation alerts or, in rare cases, rolling outages. ERCOT notifies local electric utilities of these potential steps.
An energy conservation alert is issued when energy demand is nearing the electricity generating capacity forecast each day by ERCOT. That usually happens in the late afternoon when temperatures are the hottest. An alert is a voluntary request to enact conversation measures to ensure adequate energy supply across the state. If voluntary demand reductions are not enough, ERCOT may enact rolling outages across the state to reduce energy demand.
To avoid the need for rolling outages, residents can take these steps to reduce energy use in response to an ERCOT conservation alert:
- Adjust thermostats 2 to 3 degrees higher, especially from 3 to 7 p.m., and set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home.
- Use fans to feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler.
- Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight and shut off from 4 to 6 p.m.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
- Avoid using large appliances such as ovens and washing machines during the 3 to 7 p.m. hours.
- Minimize use of lighting and electricity-consuming office equipment as much as possible in businesses and other workplaces.
- Shut down non-essential production processes at factories and large business operations.
As we enter the hottest days of the year, the City of Georgetown electric utility and other electric utilities across the state may be sending conservation alerts to customers when they are issued by ERCOT. Please be on the lookout for these conservation alerts through the City’s social media pages and website. Taking simple steps to reduce energy consumption in response to those alerts can ensure the state electric grid is able to respond to demand on the hottest days.
To learn more about statewide energy demand and real-time usage information, go to www.ercot.com.