AUSTIN (KXAN) — As severe winter weather conditions impact Texans in all areas of the state, energy providers are urging the public to curb their energy use to help protect the state’s power grid.
ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) who manages the state’s power grid is urging people and businesses across the state to reduce their energy use as much as possible from Sunday, Feb. 14 through Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Sunday evening, ERCOT reported a new winter peak demand record.
ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness explained Sunday that ERCOT is seeing record-breaking demand due to the extreme cold temperatures seen across Texas. Magness added that ERCOT is also seeing higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies.
“We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time,” Magness said.
ERCOT noted that if power reserves drop too low, it may need to declare an Energy Emergency Alert which would allow ERCOT to implement emergency measures to protect the electric system. As a last resort under an Energy Emergency Alert, ERCOT could issue rolling outages.
So how can you help the state’s power grid out? Here is what ERCOT advises:
- Turn your thermostat down to 68-degrees Fahrenheit
- Close your shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances
- Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.)
- 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
Austin Energy told KXAN Sunday it is ready to execute rolling outages, if needed. But Austin Energy said that would only happen if Austin Energy gets a directive from ERCOT to do so.
Austin Energy shared additional energy-saving tips Sunday in a letter to customers, including:
- Adjusting your thermostat 1-2 degrees colder
- Adjust your appliances so they are in energy-saving mode when they are in use
- Avoid accessing streaming video through your game console. Austin Energy said your gaming console can can use ten times more energy to stream a movie than a Roku or a smart TV
- Close pet doors (and of course bring your pets inside before you do so!)
- Try to keep refrigerator and freezer doors shut as much as possible to reduce their energy use
- Lower the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees