AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is asking Texans to voluntarily conserve power Monday, the electric grid operator said late Sunday.

ERCOT is asking people and businesses to voluntarily conserve between 2-8 p.m. It also issued a watch for “a projected reserve capacity shortage” from 2-8 p.m. Monday. This is not an emergency alert but a voluntary appeal.

It said no systemwide outages are expected Monday.

ERCOT said conservation notices are given when projected energy reserves fall below 2,300 MW for at least 30 minutes. It last asked for conservation in May after six power plants went offline during record demand.

The reasons for the conservation request are record-high electric demand due to the heat wave and low wind projections. ERCOT demand set an all-time peak demand record Friday, which was previously set July 5. On Saturday, it set a new weekend demand record.

ERCOT grid supply and demand as of 7:20 a.m. on Monday, July 11 (ERCOT website)
ERCOT grid supply and demand as of 7:20 a.m. on Monday, July 11 (ERCOT website)

ERCOT, the organization that supplies energy to over 26 million customers in Texas, has previously said it expects to set new demand records as the state grows.

The power grid operator released its summer outlook in May, which said it “is expected to have sufficient installed generating capacity” for peak demands from June to September.

Ways to reduce electricity include turning up thermostats one or two degrees and waiting to use major appliances until after peak hours, the release said.

ERCOT’s current supply and demand conditions can be viewed online.

Ways to conserve energy

Austin Energy has suggested ways you can help to conserve power Monday:

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree lower increases your energy use by 6-8%.
  • If you have central air and heat, do not close vents in unused rooms. This could increase pressure and cause duct leaks.
  • If you have a window unit, close off unused rooms.
  • Point fans in your direction. Fans blowing directly on you can make temperatures around you feel about four degrees cooler. In the summer, ceiling fan blades should move counterclockwise to push cool air downward.
  • Close shades and curtains on windows hit by direct sunlight to prevent heat from getting indoors.
  • Avoid turning on the oven during the hottest time of the day.
  • Unplug appliances, chargers and electronic devices when you are not using them. They use energy even when they are turned off.