ERCOT asks people to reduce electricity Tuesday saying Texas could see record demand

Voluntary Conservation notice in effect from 4–8 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas – ERCOT is asking Texans to voluntarily reduce electricity use from 4– 8 p.m. Tuesday due to extreme temperatures and forecasted record demand.

The Voluntary Conservation Notice is part of ERCOT’s Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS), alerting the public of grid conditions. Last week, ERCOT issued a Weather Watch from June 15 – June 21 due to increased temperatures and high demand.

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ERCOT is requesting all government agencies, including city and county offices, to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.

According to a news release, ERCOT is not experiencing emergency conditions. Voluntary conservation is a widely used industry tool that can help lower demand for a specific period of peak demand time, which is typically late afternoon into the evening hours.

ERCOT on Monday broke the June peak demand record, unofficially, with 79,304 MW, passing last June’s record of 76,718 MW. Last summer, ERCOT set 11 new peak demand records. The current all-time record of 80,148 MW was set on July 20, 2022.

ERCOT is using additional tools to manage the grid reliably, including using reserve power, calling upon reductions by large electric customers that have volunteered to lower their energy use, and bringing more generation online sooner.

Any outages will be local in nature and not related to overall grid reliability, ERCOT said. Residents are asked to check with their local electric provider for more information. CPS Energy issued a Peak Energy Demand Day for Tuesday, asking customers to reduce energy use.

Why the Need to Reduce Usage?

  • Extreme Heat. Much of Texas is seeing very high temperatures for an extended period.
  • Record Demand. Texas is seeing record demand due to the heat.
  • Thermal Outages. Forced thermal generation power plant outages are higher than normal.
  • Solar. Solar generation declines into the evening hours, before completely going offline at sunset.
  • Wind. Low wind generation compared to historic performance during the summer peak.

How to conserve energy in hot weather

ERCOT offered the following ways to reduce energy usage during periods of high demand:

  • During the summer - Raise your thermostat by a degree or two, if safe to do so. During the winter - Lower your thermostat by a degree or two, if safe to do so.
  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e., washer/dryer etc.).
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight; shut off during peak hours.
  • Commercial Business: Turn off any lights and office equipment (or place in sleep mode) when space not in use.
  • Commercial Business: Turn off air-conditioning/heating outside of business hours.
  • Use ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate the cool air
  • Close blinds and/or curtains on windows that receive direct sunlight
  • Shade air conditioning units or condensers located outdoors, if possible
  • Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun, i.e., shade south and west windows with plants or trees to block the heat during the summer

About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.