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Texas Electricity Demand Forecast To Break Another Record

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The state’s electric grid regulator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), is predicting another record breaking day of energy consumption.  

ERCOT predicts we'll use 67,084 megawatts of power today, blowing past the all-time record of 66,867 megawatts set just yesterday.

The high power demand has ERCOT pleading with people and businesses to reduce energy consumption at least until 7 p.m., and especially between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

“We do not know at this time if additional emergency steps will be needed,” ERCOT vice president Kent Saathoff said in a press release.

ERCOT is at Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 because available reserved dropped below 2,300 megawatts at around 2:40 this afternoon.  That prompts the regulator to ask that people reduce power consumption.

Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 would allow power plants to drop large industrial or commercial customers who are paid to be cut off in the event of an electricity emergency.

Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 means rolling blackouts for normal customers, usually 15 to 45 minutes in length.

None of us want it to go that far, so here are some energy saving tips, courtesy of ERCOT.

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 in occupied rooms to feel cooler. 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, coffee makers, 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 evening instead of the afternoon.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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