AUSTIN (KXAN/Nexstar) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, issued a Voluntary Conservation Notice for Thursday afternoon.
ERCOT is asking Texans to voluntarily reduce electric use, if it’s safe to do so, from 3-8 p.m. due to “extreme temperatures, forecasted high demand, & lower reserves due to low wind generation.
The council said on social media it is not currently in emergency operations. Doug Lewin — author of the Texas Energy & Power newsletter — said he has not seen lots of data showing that people follow conservation calls, voluntary or not.
“I I think rather than conservation calls, they should have automatic programs that pay people who sign up and have their power reduced. And that can be anything from pool pumps, to electric hot water heaters to even air conditioners for those that want to participate,” Lewin said.
Lewin said he’s not convinced demand will drop at 8 p.m., predicting reserves might be the tightest at that point, partially due to solar power production dropping off around that time.
He expects the power grid to make it through the summer, but winter might bring more problems.
“This is really a system that it’s really designed for the summer heat waves,” Lewin said. “Winter problems, you have much longer periods of sustained demand.”
ERCOT’s tips for saving energy
To help save energy, people can raise their thermostats by “a degree or two if safe to do so,” ERCOT said. But they can also avoid using large appliances like washers and dryers or dishwashers, or turn off and unplug any lights and appliances that aren’t being used. Those with pools can shut off their pumps during peak times and instead have them run early in the morning or at night.
Businesses can turn off lights and equipment when it’s not being used, or turn off air conditioning outside of business hours.
For more information, you can sign up for TXANS, which is ERCOT’s grid conditions notification system.