Power Watch: Predicting High Electricity Demand Today

Power Watch – Conservation Needed
Electric Grid Operator Predicting High Electricity Demand Today

August 5, 2009 — 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 have restricted reserves available today due to several unplanned generation outages,” Vice President of System Planning and Operations Kent Saathoff said. “We don’t anticipate any electricity emergencies today, but any additional generation outages or higher-than-expected loads could reduce our reserves below minimum levels.”

If reserves drop below certain levels, ERCOT operators 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 is expected to be more than 63,200 megawatts (MW) today. The current record for peak demand is 63,453 MW which occurred July 13, 2009. (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./ocp/conserve

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