Senator Carona's Email Update
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July 16, 2012

What's New . . .

Focus . . .

In June, we saw record high temperatures all over Texas and no indication that the heat will relent during these hot summer months. As we try to stay cool, it is inevitable that the state's electric consumption will increase with the rising temperatures. It seems only fitting that this month we spend a little time focusing on the state's electric grid.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, which monitors and passes legislation relating to utilities, I have become very familiar with the infrastructure that maintains electric power throughout the state of Texas. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to the vast majority of Texans -- 23 million Texas customers representing 85 percent of the state's total electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. ERCOT is subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, as well as the Texas Legislature.

Last summer's record breaking heat placed an enormous toll on the state's electric grid and forced ERCOT to implement rolling blackouts around the state. Already this summer, the independent system operator has faced challenges. On Tuesday, June 26, ERCOT set a new peak demand record. Electric use during the hour between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. reached 66,583 megawatts, also exceeding the standing record for July. ERCOT has warned us that if we face another heat wave like the one we saw last summer, these emergency rolling blackouts may again be necessary. For our part, efficiency and conservation are needed and extremely useful during these upcoming summer months.

This past June, ERCOT launched a mobile application that notifies participants with real-time updates about the status of the ERCOT grid, as well as providing tips on how to effectively conserve electricity during peak times. Most notably, the app will provide "push" notifications straight to subscribers devices. Users who enable this feature will receive alerts when ERCOT is experiencing high demand and conservation is critical, notifying them of the situation. The ERCOT Energy Saver app is free and available to both iPhone and Android users.

The Public Utility Commission has also published a number of useful conservation and energy efficiency tips on its website. Remember, it is most useful to implement conservation techniques between the hours of 3-7 p.m. I hope you will use these tools to learn about energy conservation and begin to implement some of these ideas in your homes. Not only will it help to decrease the state's energy demand, you may even see a savings in your utility bills.

Texas In The News . . .

In Closing . . .

Don't forget to vote in the Texas Primary Runoff Election. Early voting runs from July 23rd through July 27th, with election day scheduled for July 31, 2012. Visit the Dallas County Elections Department to view a sample ballot and to find your polling location -- some locations have consolidated or changed since the last election!

Stay cool and conserve energy when you can.


John Carona
State Senator - District 16

Capitol Office District Offices
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711
512-463-3135 (fax)
8080 N. Central Expy.
Suite 1440, LB 44
Dallas, TX 75206
214-378-5739 (fax)
5401 N. Central Expy.
Suite 300
Dallas, TX 75205
214-953-1886 (fax)