Extreme heat calling for conservation
Consumers and businesses are asked to reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. today, Wednesday, Aug. 24, and through the weekend.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) region is experiencing record-high temperatures throughout the state, causing high electricity usage, according to Kent Saathoff, vice president of system planning and operations.
“We have lost some additional generation, as well, so there is a good chance we will need to implement the first stage of our emergency procedures today,” he said.
Peak electricity demand is expected to be more than 67,000 MW today. The current all-time peak demand record is 68,294 MW, which occurred on Aug. 3. Prior to this, the record was 65,776 MW, recorded on Aug. 23, 2010. One megawatt powers about 200 average homes in Texas during summer conditions.
“We’re expecting more high temperatures Thursday and through the weekend, so we may have more emergency procedures later in the week and weekend,” Saathoff said. “Until we get a break in this extreme heat and record drought, we appreciate consumers and businesses conserving electricity as they are able, especially between 3 and 7 p.m.
The Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) procedures are a progressive series of steps that allow ERCOT to bring on power from other grids if available, beginning with a Power Watch (Energy Emergency Alert Level 1).
If the situation does not improve, ERCOT escalates to a Power Warning (Energy Emergency Alert Level 2), allowing operators to drop large commercial/industrial load resources under contract to be interrupted during an emergency.
If the capacity shortage is not relieved by the contract demand response, ERCOT escalates to a Power Emergency (Energy Emergency Alert Level 3) and will instruct utilities to reduce demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level. These controlled temporary interruptions of electrical service – or rotating outages – typically last 15-45 minutes before being rotated to a different neighborhood.