ERCOT prepares for first summer heat wave of 2012

With the passing of the Summer solstice and temperatures expected to hit triple digits several days next week in the Lone Star State, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the electric grid operator for most of the state, is looking closely at anticipated electric use and available electric generation.

Following on the heels of 2011’s second hottest summer on record in the U.S. with Texas experiencing the warmest summer on record of any state and its hottest summer on record,  ERCOT is going to be carefully looking at demand in the coming months.  Peak electric demand is expected to exceed 65,000 megawatts on Monday and Tuesday, and ERCOT expects to have adequate electric generation resources available to serve the residents of Texas without issuing an Energy Emergency Alert. This takes into account current outages and the possibility of losing additional resources in the first heat wave of summer.

ERCOT will use a variety of channels to keep the public informed throughout the summer. ERCOT Energy Saver, a new mobile app now available for Apple and Android devices, will provide real-time alerts when conservation is most critical in the ERCOT region. Users of the free app need to enable push notifications to receive these messages. ERCOT also will provide information through the news media, Facebook, Twitter and ERCOT’s new subscription-based EmergencyAlerts list (http://lists.ercot.com).

ERCOT will provide updates as needed, especially if actual energy use or loss of generation through unplanned outages exceeds current expectations.

Although the grid operator anticipates sufficient electric generation to meet this early summer heat wave, consumers are urged to conserve, especially between the hours of 3 and 7 pm.

Some steps everyone can take to reduce demand on the grid during these peak demand hours include the following:

  • Turn your thermostat up by two or three degrees in the late afternoon.
  • If you will be away from home throughout the day, turn your thermostat up before leaving home in the morning.
  • Set pool pumps to run late at night or early in the morning.
  • Avoid using large appliances, especially hot stoves and clothes dryers, during the peak.

For more conservation tips, download the ERCOT Energy Saver app or visit the Public Utility Commission of Texas website.