BRYAN, TX — The Energy Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT, is asking Texans to reduce their energy consumption through Friday this week, as excessive electric use and forced generation outages have caused what ERCOT calls ‘tight grid conditions.’
The group announced Monday that generator operators have reported a recent collective 11,000 megawatts of forced outages, brought about in order for repairs to those generators to be made.
This outage rate is three times the typical amount seen in a regular summer for Texas, ERCOT noted in a recent press release.
Generator owners expect the forced outages to reduce throughout the week, according to ERCOT. But to prevent further stress on the state’s energy grid, ERCOT is encouraging Texans to turn up their thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off lights, and limit the use of major appliances like washing machines.
KRHD spoke with Brooke Spittler, a Bryan local who said her family already takes steps to reduce their energy use during the summer, in their case, for personal financial savings.
"We got these new windows on our house that cut our A/C usage in half," she commented.
Spittler’s employer, Corner of Time antiques and soda shop, has also been taking steps to keep the shop cool without using excessive power.
“We run the fans all day, every day," Spittler said. "And to help reduce A/C [usage], we keep our front door closed to minimize the outside heat coming in.”
Bryan Texas Utilities energy account manager Meagan Brown explained that ERCOT has asked Texans to conserve energy in summer's past.
“So ERCOT has issued calls for conservation before," she said. "At least in my tenure, it's mostly every summer. Typically they’re not to the extent, obviously, of what we had in February. Nothing has ever been to that extent before. Typically, they’re just asking folks to conserve, and they [give] tips to do so.”
Brown offered some of her own tips and tricks for keeping a home’s power usage low. She suggested turning on fans, unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, and ensuring windows and doors are properly sealed. She pointed out that even adjusting one's thermostat a little bit can do a lot of good.
"Even if you can just turn it up a degree or two from what you’re regularly using, you can save four to six percent on the energy," Brown said.
Brown also suggested using a microwave, a pressure cooker, outside grill or gas stove to cook food, instead of an electric oven. Additionally, drawn curtains and window shades can protect a home's interior from the sun's rays.
Bryan Texas Utilities offers its customers incentives for implementing energy-saving amendments to their homes. BTU customers can learn more by visiting www.btutilities.com.