Freezing weather special alert from Electric Council and American Red Cross

Freezing weather causes concerns about electrical and water usage. (NL)

Freezing Weather Alert

High load expected Wednesday morning in ERCOT region

A special Texas weather and electrical consumption use statement from ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the flow of electric power to nearly 24 million Texas customers. They represent about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 570 generation units.

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ERCOT forecasts a high peak load to occur between 7 and 8 a.m. Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

“As always, ERCOT is monitoring the current situation closely,” they stated. “We expect significantly high load at tomorrow morning’s peak due to historically high usage and continued very low temperatures expected through the night in Texas.”

Here are some ways consumers can help conserve energy:

  • Keep your thermostat as low as comfortably possible, preferably no higher than 68 degrees.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours (6 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. in the winter).
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows, and open them during the day to let heat from the sun come in.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Sometimes the demand for electricity may be very close to the amount of generation available, either because consumers are using a lot of electricity or some power plants are not able to provide enough power. On those days, ERCOT may issue a conservation alert. Peak demand during the summer occurs between 3 and 7 p.m on very hot days, and winter peaks occur during the early morning (6-9 a.m.) and early evening (4-8 p.m.) on very cold days. In this case, because of extreme weather it is important for Texas consumers to follow the above mentioned energy conservation measures.

The American Red Cross offers these additional suggestions:

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

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