BRYAN, TX — As Brazos Valley prepares for an unprecedented Arctic blast this weekend, Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) shared some advice on how we can all still stay safe, responsible, and warm.
"BTU is prepared for the freezing temperatures forecasted this weekend. While BTU and the Texas electric grid are ready to respond to high energy demands, there is always a risk of unexpected energy shortages in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region." they wrote in their press release on Feb 11.
Right now, customers are being encouraged to conserve energy whenever possible, particularly during the early morning when temperatures tend to be coldest, and when people are using their appliances/power to prep for their day ahead.
Should an outage occur, BTU is saying there is no need for customers to call to report the issue.
According to BTU, their Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) will report your outage immediately to them when power is lost.
However, in this event, customers are still being encouraged to turn off all electrical equipment, with the exception of some lighting to be able to see.
According to BTU, turning off major heating appliances lessens the load on the system. In doing this, system operators and line crews can actually restore power sooner. Once power has returned for about 20 minutes, from there, customers may slowly start turning on more appliances, such as heaters.
BTU had the following tips to share with Brazos Valley:
1. Set your thermostat as low as still comfortably possible. The recommended setting is 68°F or lower and even lower while you are sleeping or away from home.
Note: For customers in rural territories, expect to see a rise in the bill if they have electric heat, specifically heat pumps. Drawing air from the outside to warm it, heat pumps, may experience difficulties as their auxiliary heat strips can get overwhelmed in this weather.
BTU is advising customers to not turn the thermostat up by more than two degrees at a time to avoid engaging the auxiliary heat strips.
2. Cold weather is a good time to check for drafts around your windows and doors. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal leaks to prevent heated air from escaping and cold air from coming in.
3. Open window blinds/drapes, especially south-facing, during the day to let the sun’s radiant heat naturally warm your home, close them at night or on overcast days to help keep the chill-out
- Blinds, drapes, and shades on windows can help reduce the draftiness of windows.
- Many window treatments such as films, window quilts, etc. reduce heat loss.
4. If you will be using a portable electric heater, only turn it on when you are in the room and make sure it is not near drapes, furniture, or other combustible items to avoid a fire hazard.
For more safety types regarding heating appliances, check out our previous report by clicking here.