Texas grid operator asks consumers to limit electricity use after record-breaking demand on Wednesday

The electric grid operator for Texas on Thursday asked consumers to cut back on their power use during peak hours of the day after the state broke another record for demand for the third summer in a row.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that demand for electricty rose above 67,000 megawatts for three hours in a row on Wednesday, peaking at 67,590 megawatts from about 4 to 5 p.m.

Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s director of system operations, said in a release that the system projects even higher demand for Thursday.

“Although we have been able to keep up with these July records this week, we currently project somewhat higher demand during today’s peak hours,” said Woodfin. “Some additional plants have experienced unplanned outages, and we are expecting less wind generation during today’s peak.”

Parts of the country, including Texas, were sweltering under a heat wave on Wednesday, with about 35 million people subject to heat advisories.

Temperatures in Houston rose to triple digits this week, hitting 100 degrees on Tuesday for the first time in two years.

The ERCOT release advised consumers to take the steps below during peak usage hours, from 3 to 7 p.m., to help conserve power:

  • Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances and electronic equipment.
  • When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans to cool the air.
  • When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.
  • Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffeemakers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
  • Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.
  • Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.
  • Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or late evening, not during peak demand hours.