AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Summertime temperatures often lead to an increase in electricity use, as Texans seek refuge from the scorching sun by staying inside and cranking up the air conditioning. While the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — the electric grid operator for most of the state — does not anticipate the high demand to result in rolling blackouts, they are helping smartphone users get a better grasp on their usage.

ERCOT has released a free mobile app that provides real-time updates on the status of the state’s electric grid. Users can get tips on how to conserve power and see exactly when those conservation efforts are needed most. “ERCOT is committed to using every avenue available to communicate with consumers about the need for conservation during the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.,” said ERCOT external affairs director Theresa Gage. “Texans who conserved during the summer of 2011 were vital to keeping the electric grid strong.”

One useful feature of the app is push notifications. Users can receive alerts when ERCOT is seeing heightened electricity demand, and conservation is most critical. Additional features could be added at a later date, ERCOT noted, “depending on system needs and user feedback.”

The app is available for Apple and Android devices.

Gage added, “We hope people in the ERCOT region will adopt this new energy conservation tool during summer 2012.”

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