Since ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) has announced another “Weather Watch” anticipating high demand and lower reserves through Sunday, it’s not time to totally shut down.
In response to ERCOT’s request for “voluntary conservation,” many folks are wondering exactly what that means. According to ERCOT, residents are asked to do the following:
- Raise thermostats by a degree or two. Use ceiling and/or portable fans to circulate cool air.
- Close blinds and/or curtains on windows that receive direct sunlight, especially those with west exposure.
- Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight and shut off during peak hours. If you don’t have a pool, check that one off your list.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances with the exception of the refrigerators and freezers. Believe it or not, even a quiet appliance is still using energy in the “Off” or “Power Save Mode.”
- Avoid using large appliances (i.e., washer/dryer, ovens, stoves, etc.).
Regarding that last one, even the ERCOT team doesn’t expect residents to avoid cooking and washing/drying clothes altogether. Rather they’re suggesting to refrain from using appliances during “peak times.”
That leads to another question — So, when are peak times? They’re from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The best time crank up those high-powered appliances are after 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. when most companies and households have settled down for the night.
And if your barbecue grill is feeling unloved like a patio heater, you can still fire it up for burgers and steaks without getting demerits from the ERCOT wizards. Just make sure that you have a fire extinguisher handy. Your neighbors and the fire department will really appreciate it.
Side note: In a recent Dear Abby column, a couple was having temperature problems about night-time sleeping. One couldn’t sleep unless the temperature was in the 60s; the other complained about the shivering temperatures. It was obvious the couple did not live in North Texas, where thermostats haven’t hit the 60-range since February.