EDINBURG Hidalgo County residents and businesses are urged to be mindful of electricity consumption today between the hours of 3-7 p.m. in order to avoid the need for rotating outages.

In a statement issued by ERCOT, "The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), system operator for the state's bulk transmission grid, initiated Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 at 2:26 p.m. today due to responsive reserves below 1,750 megawatts (MW)."

Due to the ongoing heat conditions, electricity usage has sky-rocketed making electricity capacity extremely tight over the last week especially during the usual peak period of 5-7 p.m.

"With the current unprecedented strain on the electrical grid, residents should be prepared in case their services are temporarily disconnected due to the rotating outages," said Emergency Management Coordinator Oscar Montoya. "We encourage all residents to take measures to help alleviate the situation by taking a proactive approach to conserve electricity in their homes and businesses, especially during the peak hours of 3 - 7 p.m.," Montoya continued.

County officials will be working alongside ERCOT and electric providers to keep you informed, you can also keep updated by visiting www.co.hidalgo.tx.us/followus.

Conservation Tips

Consumers can help by shutting off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances between 3 and 7 pm, and delaying laundry and other activities requiring electricity-consuming appliances until later in the evening. Other conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission's "Powerful Advice" include:

Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.

When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun, set air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and use fans in occupied rooms to feel cooler.

When away from home, set air conditioning thermostats to 85 degrees and turn all fans off before you leave. Block the sun by closing blinds or drapes on windows that will get direct sun.

Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee makers, or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 to 7 pm.

Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.

Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.

Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.

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.

How to Track Electricity Demand

View daily peak demand forecast and current load at http://www.ercot.com/

View daily peak demands by the hour at this link

Get real-time notices of energy emergency alerts by following ERCOT on Twitter

Consumer Assistance

Public Utility Commission Consumer Hotline - 1-888-782-8777

Office of Public Utility Counsel Consumer Assistance - 1-877-839-0363

Hidalgo County Community Service Agency - (956) 383-6240 or 1 (800) 522-4021

Call Your Electric Utility for Information about Local Outages.