Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s that time of year again! The heat is on, people are turning their thermostats down and that has power grids across the state straining to keep up.

Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the electric grid operator for most of the state, is now asking consumers to reduce their electric use today.

According to ERCOT, electricity demand in July has led to record usage. In fact, electric demand this week broke three consecutive July records. This week, for the first time since July of 2011, usage was above 67,000 megawatts.

Dan Woodfin, the director of System Operations with ERCOT, is concerned the heat and weather conditions could cause problems today. “Although we have been able to keep up with these July records this week, we currently project somewhat higher demand during today’s peak hours,” he said. “Some additional plants have experienced unplanned outages, and we are expecting less wind generation during today’s peak.”

ERCOT is asking that consumers reduce energy consumption between the peak demand hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Reducing consumption can be done by taking the following steps –

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
• Do not use dishwashers, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary
• Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven
• Set pool pumps to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)