Here’s how to prepare for a blackout as ERCOT asks Texas to conserve energy
ERCOT is pleading with Texas to conserve power during peak hours on Monday, predicting that a combination of intense heat and low winds will strain the state’s power grid.
The grid operator said in a statement on Sunday that it expects a shortfall in power reserves on Monday with “no solution available in the market.” Texas homes and businesses are required to conserve energy from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
While ERCOT said it does not expect any “system-wide outages,” here’s the best way to prepare for an outage:
Make a plan to stay in touch. The American Red Cross recommends subscribing to text- and app-based emergency alert systems. Ensure that the portable power banks are fully charged. Ideally, you’ll also need other devices that don’t need to be plugged in, like a battery-powered radio.
Perishable food won’t last long after a power outage, so stock up on canned foods and water bottles. The Red Cross says refrigerators keep food cold for four hours after a power outage. The freezer will maintain the temperature for about two days, but those windows may be shorter in the Texas summer.
If your medical needs require power or cooling, discuss a plan with your primary care providers or medical devices.
If you’re driving, the Red Cross recommends keeping your tank at least half full and making a plan in case you need to evacuate quickly.
Reliant shares the following tips and tricks on how to help manage and conserve energy use:
- Follow the principle of 4×4. Set the thermostat four degrees higher when you’re away from home for more than four hours to save energy and costs.
- Rotate your ceiling fan counterclockwise to the effect of cold winds. This can make the temperature in the room up to 4 degrees cooler allowing you to feel more comfortable and adjust the thermostat to save money. Don’t forget to turn off the fan when you leave the room.
- Use blinds or blinds To reduce solar heat gain by up to 50 percent. Direct sunlight can increase air conditioning demand by up to 30 percent.
Note the location of your nearest cooling center. Dallas lists them here.
If you have any perishable water or food, consider donating it to local charities or mutual aid groups. United Peoples Alliance In Dallas, for example, it accepts donations of bottled, bottled, or bottled water for people experiencing homelessness.
The Dallas nonprofit OurCalling also accepts donations to provide “thermal kits” for the homeless. Required items include hats, a water bottle, cooling towels, and sunscreen.
If you are able, make a plan to check in with friends, family, or neighbors who may be at risk.
Keep all generators in a well-ventilated area and never operate the generator indoors. The Red Cross also recommends having a support network that you can check in periodically.
Learn the differences between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and the signs of both. Heat exhaustion is characterized by symptoms including dry mouth, dizziness and excessive sweating, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can develop into heat stroke, which is more severe and occurs when the body temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails and the body loses the ability to regulate temperature on its own. Heat stroke can lead to hospitalization.
If you are a pet owner, watch for signs of heat stress in your pet, including anxiety, restlessness, excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal gums, tongue color or unsteadiness. Seek emergency care if your pet has any of these symptoms.
When in doubt, ditch the food. Especially if the temperature inside your refrigerator exceeds 40 degrees.
Start preparing for the next blackout situation. Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees in Dallas for the next several days.