Texas’ power grid operator has asked residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their energy use from 3-8 p.m. Aug. 17, when temperatures are expected to soar past 105 degrees Fahrenheit in large parts of the state.

The details

Texans should conserve energy “if safe to do so,” the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said in a news release. Conservation is entirely voluntary, and this is not an emergency alert.

The request is due to a combination of extreme heat, a forecasted “near-record” demand for energy and a lower supply of power. Less solar and wind power will be available in the evening, ERCOT reported.

To ensure Texas’ power grid remains reliable, ERCOT will use power reserves, make generation available earlier and work with large energy customers to lower their energy use, the release said.

All government agencies, including city and county offices, should “implement all programs to reduce energy use,” ERCOT said.

No systemwide power outages are expected Aug. 17. Texans who experience power outages should contact their local utility providers, officials said.

Customers can also contact the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ hotline by calling 1-888-782-8477 or emailing [email protected], according to a news release.

ERCOT’s supply and demand dashboard, which is updated regularly, indicated there would be enough supply to meet demand throughout the evening of Aug. 17.

How we got here

A “weather watch” is in effect through Aug. 18 in order to alert Texans of the high demand for energy amid consistently high temperatures this summer.

An unofficial demand record of 85,435 megawatts of electricity was set Aug. 10, ERCOT reported. The agency has seen 10 records this summer.

ERCOT previously requested Texans conserve energy June 20.

Texans can sign up for emails about grid conditions, weather watches, voluntary conservation and emergency alerts here.

Energy conservation tips

To save energy during hot weather, officials recommend Texans:
  • Turn up the thermostat by a few degrees, especially when they are not at home.
  • Limit the use of large appliances.
  • Turn off and unplug nonessential lights and appliances.
  • Use ceiling and portable fans to circulate air.
  • Close blinds and curtains to prevent direct sunlight from heating up rooms.
More energy conservation tips are available here.