Austin Energy reaches new winter peak in energy usage

January 17, 2018

Austin Energy customers used more electric power Wednesday morning than they have ever used on a winter day.

With temperatures in the teens on Wednesday morning, Austin Energy set a new winter peak load of 2,377 megawatts of electric power. This was roughly 28 percent more than was used on the Friday before the storm hit. 

Producing power for the Texas grid, the utility’s power plants performed reliably through the winter weather event. The utility’s employees who operate and maintain generation, transmission and distribution systems worked throughout the icy weather to make sure that power was flowing to customers. Only a few customer outages occurred.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers, including Austin Energy customers, also set several records, reporting a record 65,731 MW reached this morning.

“We have been preparing for several days knowing that extreme cold weather and ice were forecast this week,” said Elaina Ball, Austin Energy Chief Operating Officer and Deputy General Manager. “Our crews have been working around the clock to have power plants ready, to keep power flowing reliably and to respond to any power outages as safely and quickly as possible.”

Texas’ last extreme winter storm occurred in 2011 during which energy demand outpaced supply and resulted in energy curtailments throughout ERCOT. It was during this storm that Austin Energy set its previous winter peak of 2,195 MW on Feb. 2, 2011. 

Austin Energy does not anticipate any storm related issues throughout the remainder of the week, even with continued cold temperatures.  However, there are some ways customers can help conserve energy:

  • Set thermostats at 68 or lower when you are home; set at 63 when not at home
  • Lighting accounts for 10 percent of energy use, install LED bulbs, turn off lights not being used
  • Unplug electronics and chargers when not in use; use a smart power strip
  • Use a fireplace when you can to help heat your home (remember to close the damper when not in use)
  • Let sunlight in during the day to help heat your home, close shades/curtains at night
  • Use cold water to wash clothes and only wash full loads to maximize the energy usage
  • Be sure water heaters and hot water pipes are insulated
  • Access Austin Energy’s web app to monitor your energy use from anywhere and avoid surprises on your bill. Get started today at www.austinenergyapp.com.

Customers are also encouraged to sign up for outage alerts at outagemap.austinenergy.com.

About Austin Energy
Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s electric utility, serves more than 475,000 customer accounts and more than 1 million residents in Greater Austin. The utility’s mission — to safely deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy along with excellent customer service — has guided Austin Energy in powering the community and supporting the region’s growth since 1895. As a publicly owned utility, Austin Energy contributes more than $108 million annually to support important City services such as streetlights, parks, libraries and public safety. For more information about Austin Energy, visit austinenergy.com.

 

Last Updated: 1/17/18

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