North Texans Find Creative Ways To Reduce Energy Consumption
By Bud Gillett
NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 News) – With triple-digit heat hitting North Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which monitors the state’s electricity generating grid, wants everyone to cut back on power usage.
On Monday, CBS 11 News found a number of parents who found creative ways to reduce their consumption. Most simply took advantage of someone else’s electricity – visiting restaurants, shopping centers and even a trampoline park, like Jump Street in Northeast Dallas.
“We’re going to watch the movies and go have dinner later on,” Dallas resident Sergio Guerrero said.
Parents with young children find it especially hard to keep kids cool without driving up electricity use.
Dallas Mother Sarah Ferguson said, “There’s a play area on the top of the Galleria Mall we would visit, and also an indoor bounce house place that we would go.”
Leaving home to go to a splash park was one popular idea, while cutting back on cooking was another.
“I kind of adjust my menu so I don’t have to turn my oven on too much,” Ferguson offered.
Mother Tiffany Wright also operates her kitchen differently during hot weather.
“I’m using the crockpot so I have a pork shoulder that’ll be in the crockpot all day and I’m not heating up my kitchen,” she said.
Every little bit helps, according to ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy. The most noticeable impact comes when resident ‘dial up’ the air conditioner thermostat a few degrees.
“It’s amazing, really, what a significant difference that can make if everyone does it, because air conditioning clearly is what drives up demand most on these hottest days of the year,” Searcy said.
Reducing energy usage is particularly critical between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., which are the hottest hours of the day.
While Monday was not an ERCOT Energy Emergency Day, when generating reserves would drop below a pre-set level, it was an ERCOT Conservation Alert Day.
“We don’t anticipate having to issue an Energy Emergency Alert unless temperatures exceed expectations or we lose more generation units than anticipated,” Searcy reported.
Dallas resident Dina Smith had a suggestion for reducing consumption. “When you do the laundry, try not to do it at the main hours, try to do it later at night,” she proposed.
In addition to reducing major applicant usage, ERCOT officials also suggest changing swimming pool pump settings so that they run during off-peak hours.