Expect the Best But Prepare for the Worst
Like most summers in Texas, this year promises its share of hot days. Are you prepared for what could lie ahead?
Comanche Electric Cooperative does not anticipate any interruption of service over the long, hot days ahead, but circumstances could always come together to make an outage possible. A very hot day usually prompts home -
owners to lower their thermostats, which leads to a higher demand for electricity. When the demand exceeds the available supply, it knocks the electricity grid offline. If that happens, it could be hours before power is restored.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, controls the electric grid that serves 85 percent of the state’s load, including CECA. The ERCOT system acts as kind of a traffic cop, working to ensure that the entire grid has enough power to meet demand.
ERCOT has cautioned consumers and power companies that demand is expected to be high this summer and may strain the limits of its power grid. If its system nears capacity, ERCOT will send out an Energy Emergency Alert via a number of methods, including email, radio and television announcements, and through its new smartphone app. If an alert is issued, the agency would like residential users to reduce electricity use, especially air conditioning. The more people cooperate, the less chance there is of grid failure.
“During the hottest hours of summer peak days, electric use by residential consumers represents about half of total demand, due mainly to increased use of air conditioning,” said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett.
If the power does go out because of grid failure or another cause such as a storm, remember these tips:
- Limit your physical activity and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages, which can cause dehydration.
- Check on elderly relatives or neighbors. Older people are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Others at higher risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke include infants and children up to age 4, overweight people, and those who take prescription medicines.
- Don’t open the refrigerator or freezer. If the appliance’s condenser cannot run,food in an opened refrigerator can quickly get too warm.
- Use a fan. People in the days before air conditioning knew that even a simple hand fan would create a breeze that helped evaporate sweat and kept them cooler.
- Take a dip. If there’s a pool or swimming hole nearby, consider a cool swim.
- Turn them off. When the power goes out, it’s a good idea to turn off all appliances that were running, especially big ones like air conditioners, washers and dryers, and ovens. If the power is restored and those appliances all draw a large amount of power at once, it could lead to an overload that could shut everything back down. Leave a light or a plug-in radio turned on so you know when power has been restored.
CECA makes every effort to keep the power flowing. But in some cases, that’s not something we can control. If that happens, knowing some steps to take can make the situation more bearable.