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While the Electric Reliability Council of Texas called an energy emergency alert and lifted it within a few hours on Tuesday, the council could issue another one in coming days as Texas temperatures continue to rise.

To help with minimizing electricity usage, representatives with the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative and the city of Seguin are urging residents to take a look at what is most impacting their energy usage each day.

“We’re running our ACs harder to keep cool and so people need to remember that correlation. The weather defiantly affects the amount of  usage we have,” Tammy Thompson, public relations manager for Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative said. “Anytime we have high temperatures especially for a prolonged period it is pushing the grid every time.”

The first thing someone can do is take a look at their heating and air conditioning, Thompson said.

“The more your AC or heater is working throughout the day to match whatever temperature you’ve set it at versus what temperature is outside will drive the most usage on a daily basis,” she said. “That’s why the top tip is to keep your AC at 75 degrees or as warm as you can stand it that keeps you comfortable as well.”

Between 3 to 7 p.m. are the peak hours of energy usage since it’s when most individuals are getting home, however, it’s also when people should be most cognizant of their usage, Seguin Assistant City Manager Rick Cortes said.

“Don’t run large appliances like your washer or dryer especially if you have an electric dryer between 3 to 7,” Cortes said. “If you have any lights on, just turn them off.”

To keep any room cool, close the window blinds and drapes during the afternoon, the city of Seguin said.

It’s also recommended to avoid taking showers during the peak hours, but if you must then opt for colder showers instead, Thompson.

Other ways to help include avoiding cooking indoors between 3 to 7 p.m. or using a microwave or slow cooker if necessary, Cortes said,

Reducing any pull from the electric grids during these hours is important in the event Electric Reliability Council of Texas issues any alerts, GVEC said.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas represents about 90 percent of Texas’s electric load or more than 25 million customers. The organization coordinates the electric grids that are connected to more than 650 generation units and 46,500 miles of transmission lines, the organization’s site read.

When operating reserves drop down a certain level, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issues energy emergency alerts as the EEA1 issued on Tuesday.

“Extreme heat across the state resulted in high usage (Tuesday),” ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness said in a statement. “Declaring an EEA1 allowed us to access tools to maintain reliability, and we appreciate everyone’s response to the conservation appeal.”

An EEA1 is issued when the reserves drop below 2,300 megawatts while normal reserves need to be at 3,000 megawatts or above. Tuesday’s was the first EEA1 issued since January 2014, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

If the operating reserves drop less than 1,750 megawatts then an EEA2 is used. When the reserves drop below 1,000 then an EEA3 is used and the possibility of rotating outages occur.

“If anything major happens once they start issuing those alerts it can accelerate very quickly such as if a piece of equipment goes offline during that time,” Thompson said. “That’s when a situation when rolling outages can occur. It’s not common. ERCOT, as well as all the utilities, forecast to the best of their abilities to keep this from happening and it’s not common, but it could can happen in situations where there are higher prolonged temperatures.”

For more information about the alert or potential outages, visit ercot.com .

 

Valerie Bustamante is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at valerie.bustamante@seguingazette.com .

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