Ahead of the expected demand, ERCOT issued a level 1 energy emergency alert at about 3:10 p.m. Monday asking electrical customers to reduce their usage during peak hours. The call was rescinded shortly after 5 p.m. when heavy storms brought relief to residents and the power grid alike.
Tuesday nearly broke the electrical usage record set only one day prior when Monday’s demand set a all-time record for the state.
“While rain in the Dallas area has lowered today’s peak load forecast by about 3,000 MW, the ERCOT system as a whole continues to experience high temperatures and high loads,” ERCOT Communications Manager Leslie Sopko said. “Electricity providers and ERCOT are working 24/7 to ensure Texans stay cool during this heat wave.”
The recent high heat across the state led to an all-time record for power use Monday shortly after 4 p.m. when demand reached 74,531 megawatts. For comparison, one megawatt can power 200 homes for one summer day. By comparison, Tuesday’s demand came in at 74,181 megawatts at its peak.
When ERCOT issued the alert Monday, there was expected to only be about 2,300 megawatts of reserves left on the system. This marks the first time that ERCOT issued a warning since since January 2014.
In the event of a power emergency, Sopko said ERCOT has several other tools it can use to limit usage. These start at voluntary conservation by customers but can escalate to power interruptions for large industrial users who have agreed to restrictions in an emergency or rotating blackouts.
ERCOT recommended several ways that customers can conserve energy during the high demand of the summer months. Customers can set thermostats two to three degrees higher during peak hours, set them even higher when no one is home, and use fans as an energy-efficient way to stay cool. Other advice includes limiting the use of large appliances, including stoves, dishwashers and washing machines to mornings or after 7 p.m. Customers can also close blinds and drapes during the later afternoon hours.
‘We are in a period of time when we are seeing very high temperatures followed with very high demand on our power grid,” Sopko said.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.