As Texas Use More Power, Conservation Must Follow

With the Texas power grid operating at near capacity — energy companies say there are easy ways to reduce your power usage.

Last month, Texas residents used more electricity than ever before in the history of the state.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, sends out conservation alerts when the power grid is strained.

Pat Hammond with Reliant Energy says those alerts should be taken seriously.

"The state is growing, we have a vibrant economy, we're using more electricity than we have in the past. And right now, there haven't been new power plants under construction and even if the new power plants started tomorrow, it would take 18 months to three years to complete. So it's something that we all need to be mindful of and there are so many different ways that we can contribute and conserve."

Hammond says the most obvious way to conserve is to turn your AC thermostat up a few degrees during peak demand hours.

"And turn on a ceiling fan. A ceiling fan is actually going to make you feel four degrees cooler. So if you turn your thermostat up and you turn the fan on, you feel cool. But you're using a lot less electricity."

Hammond says try not to use your dryer, dishwasher, oven or pool pump during the heat of the day. Reliant also offers a free program that will pay customers for conserving energy on certain high demand days. For more information, visit the program and also conservation strategies.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...