ERCOT Issues Power Emergency Warning
Grid operator calls for conservation until 7pm
By Lee Nichols, 3:57PM, Tue. Aug. 2, 2011
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (the agency that manages the state's electricity grid) has issued an emergency warning that Texas' power reserves are dipping perilously low as today's heat taxes air conditioning systems statewide. In the press release below, ERCOT asks Texans to back off on power usage until 7pm, and offers tips on how to do so:
Power Watch – Conservation Needed
ERCOT initiating level 1 emergency; Consumers asked to conserve 3-7 p.m. today
Austin, Aug.2, 2011 – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the state’s bulk transmission grid, initiated Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 at 2:40 p.m. when responsive reserves dropped below 2,300 megawatts (MW). Capacity is expected to be tight over the peak today, and ERCOT operators are closely monitoring the situation.
“We are requesting that consumers and businesses reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. today, particularly between 4 and 5 p.m. when we expect to hit another peak demand record,” said Kent Saathoff, vice president of system planning and operations. “We do not know at this time if additional emergency steps will be needed.”
Forecast for peak demand today is 67,084 MW, exceeding yesterday’s new all-time record of 66,867 MW. Prior to this year, the record was 65,776 MW (Aug. 23, 2010).
Consumers can help by shutting off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances between 3 and 7 p.m., and delaying laundry and other activities requiring electricity-consuming appliances until later in the evening. Other conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission’s “Powerful Advice” include:
• Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
• When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans in occupied rooms to feel cooler.
• When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.
• Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
• Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.
• Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.
• Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.
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.