Senior Health

The Public Utility Commission of Texas today echoed a call from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas for electricity conservation. Narrow margins between cold-driven demand and the supply of available power across the state are expected to occur periodically through Tuesday.

“The lowest temperatures Texas has seen in decades necessitate a shared response across the state, from households to factories,” Chairman DeAnn Walker said. “Along with the tools ERCOT uses to maintain the reliability of the grid, common sense conservation also plays a critical role in our state’s endurance of this challenge.”

ERCOT has called upon power consumers across the grid to reduce their electricity use as much as possible from Sunday, February 14, to Tuesday, February 16.

“This record cold is not only compelling customers to increase their power usage to stay warm, it’s also icing wind turbines and straining our natural-gas powered resources,” said Commissioner Arthur D’Andrea. “With the grid pinched like that, ‘demand response’ in the form of reduced consumption is an essential shared action.”

Household tips for reducing electricity use include:

  • Turning down thermostats to 68-degrees or lower.
  • Closing shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Turning off and unplugging non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoiding use of large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).

Businesses should also minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible or even consider reducing non-essential production processes.

Grid reliability is ERCOT’s leading responsibility and they have a number of actions at their disposal,” Commissioner Shelly Botkin said. “As the operating reserves shrink, they can also declare an Energy Emergency Alert, a three-level system which progressively employs additional actions to keep the grid stable.”

Texans can learn more about the EEA system here and ERCOT’s emergency procedures during tight grid conditions here. They can also subscribe to the EmergencyAlerts list here.

Customers can access additional power saving tips at PowerToSaveTexas.org. The PUC’s Customer Protection Division is also available to answer customer questions at 1-888-782-8477 or customer@puc.texas.gov.

In addition to downloading the ERCOT mobile app (on both the Apple Store and Google Play), Texans are advised to bookmark the PUC’s Storm Resources page for helpful advice and features like a statewide outage restoration map.

Customers are also encouraged to leverage social media for up-to-date information:

PUC: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

ERCOT: Facebook | Twitter

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