ERCOT asks Texas residents to reduce power usage through end of week amid record electric use in June

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 1:25 PM CDT
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AUSTIN (KSLA) - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking residents to reduce their electric usage as much as possible through the end of the week (June 18) as a significant number of generation outages, combined with record electric usage so far in June, has caused tight grid conditions.

ERCOT says generator owners have reported about 11,000 mw of generation is on forced outage for repairs. Of that, about 8,000 mw is thermal; the rest is intermittent resources. According to the summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, a typical range of thermal generation outages on hot days in the summer is around 3,600 mw. One mw typically powers about 2,000 homes on a hot day.

“We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” said ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. “This is unusual for this early in the summer season.”

Generation owners say the number of outages should decrease throughout the week. Wind output for Monday, June 14 is expected to be 3,500 to 6,000 mw between 3 and 9 p.m.; that’s roughly 1,500 mw lower than what’s typical for peak conditions. Wind output is expected to increase as the week goes on.

The company is expecting record-breaking energy use. ERCOT says Monday’s peak forecast may exceed 73,000 mw. The record for peak demand in June is 69,123 mw set back on June 27, 2018 between 4 and 5 p.m.

Residents of Texas are being asked by ERCOT to conserve electricity through June 18, 2021.
Residents of Texas are being asked by ERCOT to conserve electricity through June 18, 2021.(ERCOT)

KSLA’s First Alert Weather Team is reporting feels-like temperatures in the triple digits in the ArkLaTex. However, cranking up the air conditioning is not advised.

“The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be,” states the U.S. Department of Energy.

Residents are asked to take these steps to reduce energy usage:

  • Set your thermostat to 78° or higher – every degree of cooling increases your energy use by 6 to 8%
  • Turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances like ovens, washing machines, and dryers
  • If you don’t need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible

Click here to find out about more ways to conserve electricity. To view the daily peak demand forecast, current load, and available generation, click here.

The Better Business Bureau is also offering up the following tips to make sure your AC is ready for summer:

  • Get the right equipment installed correctly – Replacing old equipment is a great way to save energy costs and money. To reach its full potential, a system must be the right size for your home and be properly installed. Improper installation or sizing can significantly reduce your system’s efficiency.
  • Check your thermostat settings – Want the best of both worlds? Why not try installing a modern smart thermostat. Installing a smart thermostat is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save energy costs while you are away, but keep you comfortable when you are home. It will automatically adjust your home’s temperature depending on the needs of your schedule. You also have the convenience of operating it right from your smartphone.
  • Change filters regularly - Inspect the air filter monthly and replace as necessary. If it looks dirty after a month, change it, to improve air quality and efficiency.
  • Check the area surrounding your outdoor unit – Remove leaves and debris from around your system, trim back any nearby bushes, and clean out leaves or dirt from the top of the AC unit to improve air flow
  • Seal ducts properly – Unsealed ducts routed through unconditioned spaces like attics and crawl spaces allow heated and cooled air to escape. These leaks ultimately reduce your systems efficiency.
  • Listen for unusual noises – Unusual noises are often a sign that there are potential problems. Sounds like duct popping can be an indicator of airflow restrictions and high pitch squealing or screeching noises can indicate failing motor bearings. It is rare that these strange noises will just go away, but if you’re aware of them, you can often avoid being without A/C when you need it most.
  • Check for standing water and condensation– Standing water near the indoor unit or excessive condensation build up on the duct could indicate a clogged condensate drain or worse it could be from ice buildup due to an airflow issue or refrigerant leak. Catching it early can prevent damage to other components.
  • Check high and low voltage wiring to outdoor units – It is common to find areas where a mouse or chipmunk have chewed the electrical wires controlling the outdoor unit
  • Keep vents and registers clear – Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency. Keep registers and vents clear of furniture and other items that may restrict airflow.

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