DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The string of summer days languishing in the triple digits has impacted our power supply.
In fact, for the third time this week, electrical use has broken another Texas record by exceeding 71,000 megawatts in systemwide hourly peak demand.
Five years ago, Texans were asked to keep the thermostat up so the lights would stay on. But even with extreme temperatures where it feels like 107 degrees, residents most likely won’t be asked to conserve energy this year.
Savannah Moore remembers well the summer of 2011. It was her first in Dallas and it was brutal.
“I remember it was extremely hot. My room is in the back of the house, so I didn’t get a whole lot of air. And so it felt almost exactly like I was outside. There wasn’t much of a difference,” she said.
Moore’s grandparents kept the thermostat of their Dallas home high on orders from ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The company operates the electric grid for most of the state and conservation measures were to prevent rolling blackouts.
“Occasionally, it would be really hot and I’d sneak in and turn it down a little bit and then go and turn it back up,” Moore said.
Her grandparents bought a backup generator after that summer, but that may not be necessary now. ERCOT says they haven’t issued any conservation requests so far this summer. They said there’s more generation now, both gas-fired and wind. ERCOT also has better forecasting tools to help monitor wind as that energy source has boomed.
Brad Watson, a spokesperson with Luminant, said that’s part of the puzzle.
“The key is, even though there may be more generation across the state, the challenge is, will it be there when you need it?” he asked.
That’s why he said they shut down power plants for maintenance in the spring; to prepare for days like these.
“It’s like the Super Bowl for us,” Watson said.
ERCOT now has an app customers can download. It gives hot weather tips and also lets users know about any alerts.
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