Hot summers are nothing new to Texans. But with the recent temperature extremes in the Lone Star State, energy usage is on everyone’s mind. We’ll get you up to speed on energy conservation this summer and offer some tips that will help reduce bills and demand on the grid.

Why Energy Conservation Matters

The two main reasons people conserve energy are to 1) gain more control over their energy bill and 2) reduce the demand on the electric grid. While energy conservation can help save energy and money throughout the year, there’s a special need for it during summer months in Texas. In fact, you may hear of statewide requests to reduce energy use during certain hours in order to help grid reliability.

A Little Conservation Can Help Everyone

As the grid operator for most of Texas, ERCOT works every day to make sure there is enough electricity available for consumer needs. Their goal is to maintain the electric grid’s reliability by making sure power generation is equal to projected consumption while keeping a power reserve margin to cover higher demand occasions—like the hottest days of summer.

School’s Out — and A/Cs are On

With more people at home and higher temperatures, energy usage naturally goes up in the summer. Additionally, the hottest part of the day, from 3 to 7 p.m., is when most of the family is home, appliances and electronics are in use, and the temperature on the AC gets lowered. The demand for power usually peaks during this time frame. 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 because some power plants are not able to provide enough power.

Avoiding Rotating Electricity Outages

The last thing we want to experience is a power outage during summer. If it becomes likely that statewide power consumption will equal or exceed the energy available, ERCOT may begin issuing Energy Emergency Alerts (EEA) to request that the public conserve electricity—helping increase the reserve margin and, in extreme cases, helping avoid the possibility of rotating outages.

ERCOT has recently launched the Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS) to provide greater transparency on grid conditions. This new tool includes the ERCOT Weather Watch, which is an earlier notification of forecasted significant weather and high energy demand. Visit ERCOT’s website for more information and to sign up for TXANS notifications. In the event ERCOT issues EEAs, NEC Co-op Energy will do its best to notify the public and its members through social media posts and our website.

It Takes Everyone

NEC Co-op Energy realizes that energy conservation is a conscious choice that members make to minimize their energy usage. We, at NEC Co-op Energy, appreciate our members’ understanding and cooperation during these hot summer months. Together, we can beat this heat and keep our costs down.

Below are some helpful tips to conserve energy at home.


  • Use ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate the cool air.
  • Close blinds and/or curtains on windows that receive direct sunlight.
  • Shade air conditioning units or condensers located outdoors, if possible.
  • Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun, i.e., shade south and west windows with plants or trees to block the heat during the summer

Commercial Business

  • Turn off any office equipment like computers, printers/copiers, appliances, etc. when not in use.
  • Enable power management settings on all computers, i.e., use sleep mode and turn off screens when not in use.
  • Plug electronics such as coffeemakers and microwaves into power strips and switch off when space is vacant.
  • Close window screens/blinds that receive direct sunlight.
  • Hot weather additional energy-saving tip: Close window screens/blinds that receive direct sunlight.


General Energy-Saving Tips

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Ensure bulbs do not exceed the recommended wattage indicated on the light socket (i.e., one larger wattage bulb is more efficient than two smaller wattage bulbs).
  • Repair leaking faucets. Warm-water leaks should be given immediate attention because they can raise your electric consumption rapidly.
  • Drain your hot water tank regularly to remove sediment.
  • Consider a tankless water heater; they are 35-45 percent more efficient, pay for themselves in 3-5 years, and never run out of hot water.
  • Wrap the hot water heater in an insulation blanket.
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater. For each 10 degrees of reduction, you can save 3-5 percent in energy costs. 120°F is suggested unless your dishwasher does not have its own water heater, in which case 130°F – 140°F is suggested for optimal cleaning.
  • Set thermostats 2 to 3 degrees higher, from 3- 7 p.m.; set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home. The optimum energy-saving temperature is 78 degrees.
  • Replace furnace filters once a month (or as needed) with a MERV 11 rating or higher.
  • Ensure that your HVAC system is properly sized for your home.
  • Hire a professional to inspect your HVAC system.
  • Have your duct system checked for air leaks and proper insulation.
  • Consider installing a “whole house fan” to improve circulation and ventilation throughout your home.
  • Do not use humidifiers or evaporator (“swamp”) coolers with the air conditioner.
  • Close vents in unused rooms.
  • Use the air-dry option on your dishwasher if available or open the door after the final rinse cycle to dry the dishes.
  • Only run dishwashers and clothes washers when fully loaded.
  • When drying clothes, do not overfill the dryer and use the automatic setting if available. Dry loads back-to-back if possible.
  • Remember to clean the lint filter between loads.
  • Consult Energy Star for Energy Star-labeled appliances.
  • Except for refrigerators and freezers that keep food cold, unplug all electronic devices, chargers, and appliances when they are not being used. They can still use a large amount of energy even when they are in the “Off” or “Power Save Mode”. Consider plugging these devices into power strips with an on-off switch.
  • Ensure that the clothes dryer’s outside air vent is well-sealed.
  • Keep the condenser coils on the back of your refrigerator and freezer clean.
  • Do not leave bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans running longer than necessary (they replace inside air with outside air).
  • Improve your roof by installing light-colored, durable materials and by adding insulation.
  • Install weather stripping, and seal cracks around windows, exterior doors, and other openings.
  • Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight.

For additional energy conservation resources visit:

Department of Energy(DOE)

Energy Star