PUC Issues Second Conservation Alert This Month

June 19, 2008

For the second time in just over two weeks, the Texas Public Utility Commission has issued a “yellow alert” in the face of high electricity demands, asking Texans to voluntary reduce their power consumption.

Hotter than normal temperatures are causing record or near-record power usage, prompting the commission to issue its second yellow alert this month. The alert will remain in place through the weekend.

While stressing that electricity supplies are expected to be adequate, PUC spokesman Terry Hadley is recommending that electric customers be “thoughtful” about electricity use to prevent unnecessary demand.

“We’re not in a situation where there is a concern of ‘brown-outs.’ This is simply a precaution,” Hadley said.

On yellow alert days, extra conservation measures are recommended to avoid potential electricity shortages during the peak usage hours of 3 – 7 p.m. A yellow alert is declared for days where temperatures statewide are expected to be extremely hot, leading to record or near-record electricity consumption. A yellow alert will also be declared if unexpected high demand and unexpected outages of power plants occur.

During yellow alerts, all customers are encouraged to reduce electricity usage use as much as possible.

“Basically, we’re just asking consumers not to use larger appliances, such as washing machines or dishwashers, until after the goes down, and to use good common sense to reduce unnecessary power usage,” Hadley said.

Electric customers are urged to turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances and electronic equipment. When at home, the PUC recommends that people close blinds and drapes that get direct , set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher and use fans to cool the air.

The PUC also recommended that when away from home, air conditioning thermostats should be set to 85 degrees and all fans should be turned off before leaving. Block the by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct .

The PUC added that customers should not use dishwashers, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers or other home appliances during peak hours. People should also avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary, and use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.

People with swimming pools are urged to set their pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.

With heavy electric usage, some lower-income customers may have difficulty paying utility bills throughout the summer. The PUC has information about bill payment assistance, low-income weatherization and energy efficiency measures available on its website at www.puc.state.tx.us or by calling 888-782-8477.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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