It’s the time of summer when demand for electricity and any unexpected obstacles in the generation or delivery systems can result in calls for conservation. When they happen, the calls from the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas frequently target 3 to 7 p.m. for cutting back. There are good reasons for that.
The hottest point of the day is in that 3 to 7 p.m. range during the summer. During that same period, commercial use of electricity is at or near a peak and residential use starts ramping up as families get home. The three factors make for a perfect storm of sorts, resulting in the highest level of demand between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. during weekdays.
The good news is that it’s easy for homeowners and business operators to cut back slightly without giving up comfort or production.
Residential consumers can:
- Raise thermostat settings as much as possible. Using ceiling or box fans in occupied rooms can make people feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler.
- Delay chores such as laundry and vacuuming.
- Set pool equipment to run at other times.
- Use timers and power strips to turn off small appliances and electronics, such as DVRs and microwaves, that are constantly on.
Commercial consumers can:
- Raise thermostat settings slightly.
- Shift production schedules.
- Use motion sensors to control lights in frequently unoccupied areas.
- Power off accessory equipment or use lower settings on multi-cycle equipment.