High summer temperatures mean high electricity demand, and the Texas power grid is really feeling the burn. We’re here to help you relieve pressure on the power grid and save money on your energy bills. Read on to learn about how you can conserve energy this summer.
We can always rely on experiencing hot weather during a Texas summer. Many of us take for granted that feeling of relief when cool air from our AC washes over us as we walk in the door, but that AC, as well as many of the comforts of home, relies on one very important entity – the power gird.
The Texas power grid, most of which is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has been feeling the heat all summer long, and ERCOT has issued several alerts urging Texas residents to conserve energy and reduce strain on the grid.
During normal conditions, ERCOT’s operating reserves are at or above 3,000 mega-watts. ERCOT’s recent alerts were issued as Electricity Emergency Alert (EEA) Level One, which means operating reserves have dropped below 2,300 mega-watts. At EEA Level Three, Texans can expect rolling outages.
How High Demand Affects Energy Rates
High demand on the power grid means higher electricity prices, but you’ll be protected from price spikes if you’re on a fixed-rate plan. With a fixed-rate plan, your energy rate per kilowatt-hour will remain the same for the term length of your plan. If you’re on a variable rate, you could be subject to the volatility of the energy market and end up paying a higher price per kilowatt-hour when demand is high.
Even on a fixed-rate plan, high temperatures can mean high usage and high bills. Your AC and heating use more energy than all your other appliances, and hot summer weather causes your AC to work harder to cool your home. To prevent high summer electricity bills, read on for tips on saving energy.
How to Save Energy This Summer
By conserving energy during the hottest part of the day, Texans can help offset some of the power load during times of high electricity demand. Use these tips to help save electricity:
- Raise your thermostat to 78F or higher.
- Do laundry at night to reduce your home’s power load and keep your home cooler during the day
- Use ceiling fans to stay comfortable without turning down your AC
- Cook at night or use alternatives like your microwave or slow cooker during the day to keep your home cool
- Run your dishwasher at night as well, and avoid heated dry if possible
- Close your drapes to keep the sun from heating your home
- Clean or replace your air filter so your AC doesn’t have to work as hard
- Dress in summer clothes. Wear light, breathable clothing to stay comfortable with reduced AC use
- Sign up for a fixed-rate electricity plan to protect yourself from the price spikes that can happen during these high-demand summer months