Record-Setting South Texas Weather
Another South Texas summer is officially coming to an end this month. The heat has definitely been on the last three months and will continue into September. High temperatures have fluctuated primarily between the upper 90s to record highs of 106 degrees. In fact, during July alone, we experienced 15 days of temperatures over 100 degrees.
Record Demand = Higher GVEC Summer Electric Bills
During this hot weather, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the governing entity of electricity flow for most of the Texas region, reported surpassing multiple system-wide peak demand records and hit 73,259 megawatts on July 19, 2018—its highest point up to this time.
As of the date I’m writing this, we are currently in mid-August. Temperatures have lingered in the high 90s and are projected to stay at that level through the end of the month. We all know Texas weather is unpredictable, so it is not out of the question to have experienced more days over 100 degrees by the time you read this. This level of heat can wreak havoc on both the electric system and on your GVEC summer electric bills. Energy efficiency is important to both.
Brownouts & ERCOT Peak Demand Alerts
ERCOT is tasked with meeting electric demand at all times and consistently plans its operations with approximately 3,000 megawatts of reserve power in place. Typically, this is more than enough to cover the normal seasonal peak demands. However, if an unexpected event happens, such as a failure in generation equipment, load-shedding events to lessen system demand (also known as brownouts) can happen. The system is most vulnerable at very high peaks, which is when efficiency measures on an individual level are vital.
If you follow GVEC on social media, you have seen the new ERCOT Peak Demand Alerts we have been posting. If you don’t, I encourage you to become a follower on Facebook or Twitter to stay informed regarding ERCOT peak demand alerts. Doing so can help reduce the likelihood of brownout interruptions in summer and winter. Plus, if you participate in our Rush Hour Rewards program, you’ll get paid to help lower GVEC’s overall usage during ERCOT Peak Demand Alerts.
SmartHub & Other Options to Help Reduce Electric Bills
Hot temperatures also tend to keep us indoors with the cool AC running, which translates into higher GVEC summer electric bills. While this happens in both summer and winter seasonally, it is something we can all be mindful of and work on to minimize in different ways.
Currently, we have over 20,000 members taking advantage of our free SmartHub® app to monitor their usage in accordance with temperatures (among other features), but there’s room for thousands more. I have personally found SmartHub to be an invaluable tool in terms of helping keep my GVEC summer electric bills in check.
And SmartHub isn’t our only tool for helping you control seasonal electricity usage. We also have member services advisors available for no-, low- and planned-cost recommendations on boosting the efficiency in your home. They will give you honest feedback on changes you can make to avoid big surprises on your GVEC summer electric bills. I hope you are taking advantage of these valuable services. While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps together to control the costs that go along with it. Your Cooperative will always be here to help.
As we enter the fall months, be sure to brush up on your winter efficiency tips at gvec.org and get your AC/heating unit serviced to prepare for the upcoming cold. Working with GVEC professionals and our resources will help you save money on future GVEC electric bills!
Join Us as GVEC Gives Back to Our Communities
I am very proud of our GVEC employees, who have organized GVEC Gives Back day on Sept. 22, 2018, at Max Starcke Park in Seguin. The day will include a raffle, 5K Color Fun Run/Walk and lunch plates to be prepared by our infamous GVEC cook team. Proceeds will go to support the Guadalupe County Children’s Advocacy Center in Seguin and Norma’s House in Gonzales. The efforts put forth to support these organizations speak volumes to the character of the good people that work on your behalf at GVEC. The entire membership is invited to help us support kids in need across our service area! If you can’t attend for the fun, buy a raffle ticket or a lunch plate. Any participation is appreciated.
Contact Me by Phone, Email or Mail
I am always interested in your comments and feedback. Contact me by phone at 830.857.1152, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at P.O. Box 118, Gonzales, Texas, 78629.