Do you remember the electricity bill you received after this winter’s cold spell? It gave many of our members a bit of sticker shock. Of course, we all use more kilowatt-hours to stay warm when the cold of January comes knocking. The unfortunate result is higher-than-usual bills.
Now, as we look forward to summer, a reverse weather pattern holds the potential to cause higher-than-normal bills again. “Compared with last summer,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts, “this summer’s temperatures are forecast to be warmer.” We will all use more kilowatt-hours to stay cool, if the EIA predictions are correct, and we will experience higher-than-usual bills, again.
In addition to higher temperatures increasing demand on electricity, consumers in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas area also face the possibility of higher wholesale electricity prices. That’s because three coal-fired power plants that supplied part of Texas have been shut down.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees 90 percent of the state’s power grid, is predicting record-breaking peak power usage. To keep the system reliable, ERCOT prefers to maintain a small percentage of generation capacity beyond what is needed to meet peak demand. This extra energy capacity is called the “reserve margin,” and it measures the system’s ability to meet demand for power during the hottest days. The current projections for hotter summer weather and increased demand could test the reserve margin.
Since South Plains Electric Cooperative has two wholesale suppliers in two power grids, ERCOT and Southwest Power Pool, our members are protected from the full effects of what happens in ERCOT.
We still ask all members to be good neighbors as we get ready for summer by managing your electricity use. Follow us on Facebook so you’ll know when we are anticipating a peak demand day.
A few home improvements and simple changes in day-to-day habits can add up to big savings this summer. For example, a few tubes of latex or silicone caulk for your windows will help keep cooler air inside your home and the hot air outside where it belongs. Remember to set your air-conditioning system thermostat to 78 degrees and maybe even a little higher if you’re planning to be away from the house for a while.
Would you like to make an even greater impact on your bill? Check your home’s insulation. According to TogetherWeSave.com, the insulation in your home’s attic should be at the recommended R-value of 30–60. You will not only feel the difference in your home, you’ll help offset peak demand.
At TogetherWeSave.com, you’ll find a variety of tools and tips to help maximize your home’s energy efficiency.
Most importantly, South Plains Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit power provider. We provide you with the electricity you need to improve your quality of life—not turn a profit for investors. We also give you tools to help conserve electricity and save money. We want you to stay comfortable this summer with power bills you can afford.