An exceptionally hot summer in Lubbock has placed additional strains on Lubbock Power & Light. While the utility company hasn’t faced any heat-related crises yet, they are asking the public to help cut down on energy uses to take some pressure off the system.
Matt Rose, spokesperson for LP&L, explained that while summertime is usually when the company sees their peak usage, this summer’s numbers are especially staggering.
“We have already hit our near-record peak, all-time for electric consumption for the city of Lubbock,” Rose explained. “Right about the middle of this month, the middle of that span of consecutive days of over 100 degrees we saw that our total system peak hit 615 megawatts and that was within 10 megawatts of our all time high which we reached in 2011.”
Rose explained that in an average year Lubbock will see it’s system peak in the 3rd week of August, generally coming in at around 580 megawatts.
But the heat this year in Lubbock has not only been more intense, but has lasted for longer intervals. The long stretches of triple digit heat mean that the utility system has less time to cool down, Rose said.
According to the National Weather Service in 2015 temperatures in Lubbock didn’t reach 100 degrees once in July. But in July of 2016, Lubbock has already seen 10 days which hit at least 100 degrees. NWS reports that the temperature average for July of 2016 is 6 degrees above the average for Lubbock in July.
Rose explained that LP&L is monitoring all their equipment for any heat damage, they’ve had to assess damage at some sites that have been impacted by the heat.
“Just this month, when we hit one of these hot spells, we got word that there may need to be curtailment of electricity usage during peak hours over a several day period,” Rose said. “That was due to some equipment that had malfunctioned outside the LP&L service district but it works to bring energy into our system.”
Rose explained there has been no need yet to ask the public to curtail their electricity usage, but LP&L is still waiting to see what the rest of the summer brings. Rose anticipates more heat and higher usage in August when LISD and Texas Tech go back into session.
He explained that summertime can be a strain on customers as well.
“In a summer like we’re having right now, you’re going to see a lot of customers out there whose consumption has tripled in some cases or maybe even more,” Rose explained.
He added that decreasing your energy consumption this summer will not only help your pocketbook, it will help ease some of the pressure on the LP&L system as a whole, translating into lower costs for consumers.
“When we see these very hot temperatures in the dead of summer, your air conditioning unit has to work much harder to keep your house at a comfortable level, so please do everything you can do to help your [air conditioning] unit run more efficiently,” Rose explained.
To save money, he recommends that consumers change out their air filters, keep external doors closed, use window blinds, and adjust your thermostat up eight to ten degrees when you leave for the day.