Interim CEO Message – June 2022

Conservation will be key this summer

Theresa QuirozAs I write this, my mind is on the fact that power demand in Texas set a new monthly record yesterday (5/17). It is very possible that the new record will not survive even today. The heatwave started early this year, and the official start of summer isn’t until June 21.

There was a press conference yesterday, at which both the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Interim CEO Brad Jones and the Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman Peter Lake, reiterated that there should be enough power to get us through the summer, according to recent reliability reports. That is, unless something drastic happens – like multiple generation facilities shutting down all at once, and the wind is not blowing enough for wind generation to contribute substantial amounts of power to the grid.

This drastic scenario is what played out very prophetically Friday the 13th of May. ERCOT, to its credit, was proactive in asking consumers to conserve energy, when six generation facilities failed going into peak energy consumption hours. This caused real-time prices to hit over $4,000 per megawatt hour (MWH) in some regions, after having been less than $6 MWH earlier in the day. The Co-op always appreciates the response we get from members when asked to conserve energy. These notices are put out on our social media channels, so if you’re not already following us, please do so. Conserving energy during “crunch time” helps us to help you, by preventing the need to go on the open market to purchase additional energy during price spikes.

I encourage you to use every tool at your disposal to help keep a tight rein on your energy usage this summer. SmartHub offers a couple of options. One is the “My Usage” tab, where you can view your energy usage hourly, daily, or monthly. SmartHub also provides the means to set up energy usage alerts, using the parameters you define. There is information on enrolling in SmartHub in the following pages. Even checking the kWh comparison on your monthly bill will show your energy usage for the current billing period, as compared to the same period the previous month and year. Remember to turn off/unplug any items not currently in use, as many of these draw some amount of power, even when turned off. Of course, one of the best things you can do to save on your electric bill is to avoid conducting high energy usage activities such as laundry, dishwashing, etc. during peak hours (3 to 7 p.m. weekdays), when the cost of power is higher.

This year is shaping up to be one of the hottest, earliest, on record, which means that we all need to be prepared, as best we can, to stay comfortable, and be able to control our electric energy bills. It’s going to be a long, hot summer, folks. We will continue to keep a close eye on the situation, and let you know about the issues that could potentially affect your electric service. I’m sure with everyone’s cooperation, we will get through it together.