HOUSTON — On Monday, when temperatures soared, ERCOT asked Texans to conserve energy during peak hours to avoid any blackouts and a lot of Texans listened.
Peak hours are 2 to 8 p.m. ERCOT reports that from 1:56 to 2 p.m. customers voluntarily shut down nearly 500 megawatts of power, enough to power about 100,000 homes.
Requests to conserve energy included setting thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, not running large appliances, like dishwashers or washer/dryers, and turning off lights.
“When it comes to peak moments, any savings, even tiny bits, helps,” explained Le Xie, a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Texas A&M.
There are nearly 10 million households in Texas, so cumulatively, what we do in them matters. The biggest energy consumer is usually the air conditioning, as they run almost non-stop during triple-digit days.
“On a hot day like this, the air conditioning consumption would take somewhere between 30% to 50% of that total energy consumption.”
According to Texas Electricity Saving, AC accounts for 51% of an average Texas home’s energy use. Followed by the water heater, consuming 18% percent, then a washer and dryer, refrigerator/freezer and electric oven and stove.
As for the request that Texans turn off and unplug lights or other electronics, Xie says with nearly 10 million households, it all adds up.
“You can never underestimate the value coming from each individual household. So, I would say at this time, every household, your decision matters.”