AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - The operator of Texas’ power grid has put the system in an emergency state.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says power usage across the state is so high right now that it’s temporarily cutting power to some big businesses. It’s only interrupting service to those companies that have previously signed up to have their power cut off.
But rolling blackouts are a possibility if power usage increases.
ERCOT is asking residential customers to conserve as much power as possible between 3 and 7 p.m. today. Some ways to do that include turning off unnecessary lights and appliances, setting your home’s thermostat at or above 78 degrees, and waiting to do laundry or other chores that require electricity.
Other conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission’s “Powerful Advice” include:
• Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
• When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans to cool the air.
• When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.
• Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
• Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.
• Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.
• Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.
If ERCOT does need to start rolling blackouts, they plan for the outages to last no more than 45 minutes in each area.