Austin experiences peak energy usage due to sweltering heat

Hannah Jane DeCiutiis

With triple digit temperatures and subsequent record-high energy use throughout the Austin area, energy officials are advising residents to take extra precautions to make it through the summer safely and comfortably.

Monday’s temperature exceeded 100 degrees and resulted in the highest energy usage ever recorded for June in Austin. The record temperature for June was broken on Tuesday with 109 degrees, which pushed energy usage to another record and even surpassed July’s energy use record, totaling 66,583 megawatts.

Robbie Searcy, spokeswoman for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said the highest all-time record for energy use in Austin was Aug. 3, 2011 at 68,379 megawatts. ERCOT is a system operator that accounts for 85 percent of Texas’ electric load, according to the ERCOT website.

“Our seasonal assessment anticipated that this summer would be hotter than our 15 year average, so pretty hot, but not as brutal as last year,” Searcy said. “We’re still operating under that assessment and we expect to have adequate generation resources to get people through the summer.”

Searcy said ERCOT is encouraging users to help maintain reliable energy use throughout the summer by reducing energy use during peak hours between 3 and 7 p.m. Additionally, the mobile application ERCOT Energy Saver for Apple and Android smartphone users allows ERCOT to alert the public when energy conditions are most critical, Searcy said.

“We’re trying to be very judicious about when we send those alerts out,” Searcy said. “We appreciate everyone’s help.”