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Hot Temperatures Affecting Texas Energy Consumption

<P>Energy officials say energy consumption is setting new records.</P>

As the summer temperatures hover above the century mark, the electric reliability council of texas (ERCOT) is asking consumers and businesses to lower their electricity use during peak hours.

Ercot, the grid operator for most of texas, saw a new record for peak electric demand on monday and they expect the demand to be even higher today.

Cooling systems like air conditioning are working extra hard and the extra demand is putting a strain on our energy supply.

Robbie Searcy, spokewoman for ERCOT, says they need the community help to say energy during peak hours.

"During the hottest days of the year, ERCOT is seeing some tight grid situations and it's really up to all of us to help insure that our grid remains reliable by conserving electricity between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m.," Searcy says.

There are some tips everyone can follow to help them save energy:

"If there are things you can unplug before leaving home or if you are home, facing this 3-7 p.m. hour, we certainly encourge that, "Searcy says.

Searcy adds that as demand continues to rise, these tips may help avoid power outages.

"As we run into tighter and tighter reserves while electric use continues to grow in our state, then it becomes increasingly important to our response to these calls to conserve," Searcy says.

Mike Graham, owner of Mike Graham's Heating and Air Conditioning, says dirt can be one of the biggest enemies for an air conditioning system.

Graham says changing the filters and getting the unit serviced twice a year can help.

"It's a mechanical device, so it's going to break but you can reduce the risk by just having it maintained every year and be religious about that," Graham says.

A necessary maintenance the community can't ignore in these scorching temperatures.

"The hotter it gets, the less efficient an air conditioner works so if you have dirt on top or that, it's only going to drop off quicker and faster," Graham says. "Just maintain it and keep it clean. It's one of our biggest issues."

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