Why Texas PUC urges consumers to conserve energy
Having touched record power consumption in June, Texas PUC has urged the public to conserve energy, which in turn would help avoid outages. When record heat and drought last year tested the limits of Texas’s primary power grid, it was the public’s response to energy conservation appeals that helped avoid outages. Authorities believe that this year too, a similar appeal is called for, especially when temperatures throughout the state are soaring.
This year, the electricity conservation campaign will target community organizations, business groups and middle schools, to create a rise in awareness and popularize small steps for energy conservation that can help people save money. In fact, the campaign titled ‘Power to Save Texas’ is part of an effort by the PUC and ERCOT to meet a goal of decreasing demand for electricity during the peak hours.
Since the peak demand for electricity in Texas is between 3 and 7 p.m, the campaign asks Texans to reduce their energy use during this period to avoid outages and save money. Starting from turning up your air conditioner 1-2° warmer, to closing blinds, doing laundry or running dishwashers after 7 p.m, several small steps were highlighted in the campaign to limit the power usage during rush hours and ensure reliability of the grid.
What you can do
To respond to the campaign, you can take the following steps:
- From 3 to 7 p.m, turn down your electric water heater by 10 degrees.
- Put on the fans and try not to turn down the AC until after 7 p.m.
- Don’t run your dryer, washer, and dishwasher during the peak demand hours.
- Use a timer on key appliances and lights to decrease usage during peak times.
- Run your pool pump overnight or early in the morning.
- Instead of a standard oven, use a slow cooker or an outdoor grill to bring down electric usage during peak times. Remember that ovens heat up your house, which in turn makes your AC work harder in summer, thus consuming more electricity and driving your power bills up.
- When not in use, turn off the appliances, lights, and cable boxes during 3 to 7 p.m.
- To save money, use a solar dryer or a clothesline instead of an electric dryer. You can run your dryer’s fluff cycle, if required, during the off-peak period, to decrease laundry stiffness.
- Use smart meters to monitor your usage and manage your costs.
‘Power to Save Texas’ will include radio news features, media tours, television ads, and video news releases. Apart from a dedicated website at http://www.powertosavetexas.org/, this campaign will also run online ads on Facebook and Google.
Planned to run for the next 16 months, this campaign will cost $700,000, which includes the cost of purchasing commercials and ad space.
With Texas’s decreasing reserve margin, and limited amount of surplus generation, it has become important for the Texans to respond to the call for energy conservation. So, play a significant role by using the power conservation tips mentioned above.