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20110803_OutletRecord power use expected again Wednesday

Conservation needed all week

AUSTIN -- The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the state’s bulk transmission grid, again set a new electricity demand record with 67,929 megawatts (MW) Tuesday between 4 and 5 p.m. and is expecting to break the record again Wednesday.

“Due to the high temperatures and high electricity usage expected this week, we are continuing to request that consumers and businesses reduce their electricity use during peak electricity hours from 3 to 7 p.m. for the remainder of the week,” said Kent Saathoff, vice president of system planning and operations.

“We appreciate the efforts of consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity consumption today following initiation of a level 1 emergency alert,” Saathoff said. The level 1 emergency was declared at 2:40 p.m. Tuesday and cancelled at 6 p.m.

The new peak demand exceeds Monday’s new record demand by 1,062 MW and last year’s record of 65,776 MW (Aug. 23, 2010) by 2,153 MW. One megawatt of power is enough electricity to power about 200 homes in Texas during hot weather when air conditioners are running for long periods of time.

Conservation Tips

Consumers can help by shutting off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances between 3 and 7 p.m., and delaying laundry and other activities requiring electricity-consuming appliances until later in the evening. Other conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission’s “Powerful Advice” include:

• 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.

Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible. Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Call Your Electric Utility for Information about Local Outages ERCOT manages the state’s high-voltage bulk electricity grid. For questions about local outages at your home or business, or questions about rotating outage procedures for your neighborhood, contact the utility company or transmission provider listed on your electric bill.

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