ERCOT: Energy conservation through Tuesday is 'vital'

August 29, 2011 12:17:04 PM PDT
Houstonians came out Sunday to celebrate the city's 175th birthday, and the heat stayed on the minds of many. But the amount of power we are using to beat the heat could eventually cause a new problem.

It was of the hottest days on record, but the city's birthday party went on.

"I want you to think about what it was like to those first Houstonians. There weren't any trees. This was scrubby coastal prairie. It was just as hot," Mayor Annise Parker said.

Partygoers for the 175th celebration were doing all they could to stay cool.

"Drinking water and just in the shade, trying to find trees," Keyondra Keys said.

Inside the Cupcakes-A-Go-Go truck, cupcakes were still beating ice cream sales, but they had to mix up the operation.

"We've had to move to use freezers to hold the cupcakes as opposed to a shelf at a shop, so that's altered how we operate. But they get a nice, cold cupcake at the end of the day," Janell Stringham said.

Triple-digit temperatures equaled record-breaking electricity use this weekend, forcing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to urge conservation.

ERCOT announced Sunday that a new record was set on Saturday for peak weekend usage, and it's likely that they will hit a new all-time peak demand record on Monday or Tuesday.

"Typically, weekdays are much higher than weekends, and this past weekend we've seen extreme usage. So we're expecting Monday to be high and we definitely need every customers help to deal with that," Theresa Gage with ERCOT said.

The need for energy conservation through Tuesday is vital, according to ERCOT officials. They are asking consumers to cut back, particularly between the hours of 3pm and 7pm.

ERCOT offers the following conservation tips:

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 make it 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 3-7pm;

Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary;

And set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.

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