As temperatures steadily climb and with heat indices well into the triple-digits, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asks for conservation efforts each afternoon between 3-7 p.m. Historically, the end of June through August marks tough times for the Texas power grid as our available resources operate at capacity with air conditioners cranked down and working almost constantly. Generating enough power to keep up with the statewide demand is a tall order.

Working together, you and Nueces Electric can avoid possible forced outages and save on power costs. Conserve energy this week between 3 pm and 7 pm with these simple measures.

Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.

When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans in occupied rooms to feel cooler.

When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.

Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 p.m.

Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.

Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.

Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.

Smartphone users can stay informed with information directly from ERCOT by downloading the free ERCOT Energy Saver app to their Apple and Android devices

As the State of Texas closes in on its maximum available electric power resources, itís important for all NEC members to help conserve to avoid state-mandated rotating power outages. Additionally when the state exceeds its pre-estimated power usage, called the peak demand, our co-op membersí wallets could take a beating. Peak demand is used to refer to a historically high point in the sales record of a particular product; when demand for electricity is at its highest, that's called a "peak" period.

Each year, Nueces Electric Cooperative commits to purchasing a scheduled amount of power that is estimated based on the average of our past peak demand. If we need more power than we have available, Co-op members could end up paying up to $7,500 per Megawatt (MW power approximately 200 homes) as compared to our normal rate of around an estimated $75 per MW.

Paying more than we have to for our power lowers Co-op margins, which in turn lowers your capital credits, or the money the co-op returns to you each year.

Think of "peak energy demand" like a busy airport on the day before a holiday or a Saturday afternoon. The airport is extremely busy with long lines of people. Every single plane is full because there is a high demand to go home at that time. But visit the same airport on a weekday afternoon any other time of the year. There are fewer travelers, and most of the time it's easy to catch a last minute flight. However, the airport is prepared to meet the demands of travelers on those few busy days each year.