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TEA Correspondence

A Microsoft Word version of this letter is available for download and PRINTING.

August 11, 2011


SUBJECT:  Energy Conservation

Many of you have contacted the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in the past two weeks to inquire about the impact that extremely high temperatures and unusually high electricity usage will have on your schools.  I wanted to share some information from the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

First, it is important to understand that electric usage is driven primarily by temperature.  We have had record high electricity usage this summer because we have had prolonged periods of record heat.  Second, ERCOT has factored school start dates and the resulting increased usage into its forecast for electricity needs.  ERCOT does not anticipate that the start of school will strain the grid beyond capacity but will continue to closely monitor the weather forecast for the entire state to determine whether any additional conservation measures are necessary. Finally, peak electricity usage generally occurs between 3 and 7 p.m., after many schools dismiss students for the day.

Our electric supply in Texas is strong but not unlimited. When the conditions are as extreme as those we have seen this summer, we must all do our part to conserve, particularly during peak hours. 

Here are a few conservation tips ERCOT and PUC provided that you should put into practice in your buildings every day during peak hours:

  1. Set the thermostat two to four degrees warmer than usual and close blinds or curtains on any window that gets direct sunlight.
  2. Turn off all unnecessary lights and electrical equipment when not in use.
  3. Unplug water fountains in the hallways after 3 p.m.
  4. Avoid any non-essential activities that require electricity during the peak hours (i.e. large copy jobs, charging cell phones or laptop batteries, etc.).

Not only will these tips help reduce our overall electric demand during peak hours, they may also help reduce your electricity bills.

If you would like more conservation tips or would like to follow the latest conditions on your own, you can visit or



Robert Scott
Commissioner of Education


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