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City, State Energy Conservation Varies by Department

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Triple-digit heat is putting pressure on the state’s electrical system. Texas set a record yesterday for peak demand during the month of June. Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas are asking everyone to reduce electricity use from 3 to 7 p.m. That means turning up your thermostat by a couple of degrees and avoiding use of large appliances during those hours.

The City of Austin and the State of Texas are some of the largest energy users in the city.

Carlos Cordova is with Austin Energy. He says the city relies on Austin’s Energy’s Load Cooperative program for alerts about peak usage and to track incentives for reducing use.

“Right now for instance, Austin Water has two treatment plants in this program – Walnut Creek and Hornsby Bend – they can just curtail their very energy-intensive processing of waste, of sewage for a few hours because that can sit and it can be processed later,” said Cordova, Austin Energy Corporate Communications.

The Texas Facilities Commission says state agencies receive conservation alerts from the Public Utility Commission but that there are no hard rules requiring them to turn up the thermostat.

“Everybody follows it to the degree they can. And all the buildings in Austin that we manage that are occupied by other state agencies, we can control what goes on in the common areas but not in the individual areas that are occupied by different agencies that are headed by other elected officials or appointed officials,” said Shyra Darr, TFC Director of Administration.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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