By Sarah Rafique

Killeen Daily Herald

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas anticipates high energy use as the state reaches triple-digit temperatures early next week.

"When temperatures go up in Texas, so does air conditioner use, and that tends to increase demand on the electric grid," said Robbie Searcy, an ERCOT spokesperson.

Temperatures are expected to hit 100 Monday and Tuesday, and be at least in the upper 90s the rest of the week, said meteorologist Jason Dunn with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

With rising temperatures, the state's electric grid's challenge is to ensure the amount of power being generated balances the amount of power being used at all times, said Searcy.

Peak electric demand Monday and Tuesday is expected to exceed 65,000 megawatts, but ERCOT anticipates having adequate energy resources, said Searcy. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes during the hottest hours of the hottest days of the year.

The state reached its record peak demand on Aug. 3 at 68,379 megawatts.

"When we run into these high electric periods, it's important that people are aware," she said. "The system's built to serve peak demand."

ERCOT keeps a reserve margin for when demand is high, and although it anticipates being able to prevent rotating outages this summer, there may be situations where energy emergency alerts are issued to encourage conservation.

To conserve energy, residents should turn thermostats up by two or three degrees in the late afternoon, turn off thermostats when leaving home for an extended period of time, set pool pumps to run late at night or early in the morning and avoid using large appliances, especially hot stoves and clothes dryers, during the peak.

"If we get to a situation where the amount of reserves are lower than we like for comfort level, we ask people to help by conserving and cutting their electric use, particularly between 3 and 7 p.m.," said Searcy.

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549.

Summer protection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest the following methods to prevent heat exhaustion and protect yourself from the sun:

Stay hydrated.

Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.

Limit exposure during peak hours.

Seek shade, especially during midday hours.

Wear light-colored clothing.

Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect the face, head, ears and neck.

Don't leave children in cars, not even for a few minutes.

- Sarah Rafique

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