ERCOT asks Texans to conserve on Thursday and Friday

The organization that runs most of the state’s power grid is asking people to conserve energy for the next two days.

The Energy Reliability Council of Texas expects there to be extra demand for power on Thursday and Friday. It’s asking customers and businesses to conserve especially between 2 and 7 p.m.

"ERCOT’s job is to ensure power is available all over Texas," said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. "When electricity demand and heat reach levels like we expect on Thursday and Friday, we ask Texans to consider taking a few steps to help keep power flowing for all of us."

“We're anticipating tight energy conditions this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon, primarily due to the extreme heat we're seeing across the ERCOT region, especially in the major urban load centers of Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio,” explained ERCOT spokesperson Leslie Sopko.

ERCOT previously sent out an Energy Emergency Alert in August for the first time in five and a half years. Now less than a month later, there is a Conservation Alert for Texans to limit their electricity use.

According to ERCOT, Texans set a new daily record for energy use in September on Tuesday.

Energy experts say doing simple things like setting your thermostat up by a few degrees, closing blinds, turning out the lights when you're not using them and waiting until off-peak hours to use large appliances and electronics can help.

“Not using your pool pumps, your washer, your dryer, your dishwasher through 2-7pm can make a big difference,” said Kerri Dunn, ONCOR’s senior communications advisor. “And make sure you not only turn off but unplug appliances you aren't using.”

But energy companies are prepared in case the grid does become stressed.

“We have several tools and procedures in place to help us maintain system reliability,” Sopko said. “And if we need to go into our emergency procedures, basically what that does is it allows us to take advantage of additional resources that are only available to us when we're in emergency conditions.”

They're hoping with everyone's help that it doesn't come to that.

“If everyone can just work together and do their little bit for a few hours just 2-7pm, the small steps all working together can make a big difference in making sure we have more than enough energy supply than we need,” Dunn said.

Some conservation suggestions include turning up the thermostat in the evenings and when no one is home, limiting the use of large appliances like a washer and dryer, using a slow cooker instead of an oven, closing the drapes and blinds in the afternoons and setting pool pumps to run in the morning or overnight.