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CEO Column: We can work together to conserve energy, maintain a reliable grid

June 13, 2023

Summer is coming, and with summer comes high temperatures and high usage of electricity. As we prepare for the hottest days of the year, it is a good time to think about energy conservation. At Trico we are dedicated to providing our Members with cost-effective and sustainable energy, and a big part of sustainability is reliability. When we talk to our Members and review Member surveys, the message is clear: reliability is important. We take that to heart and know it is our responsibility to provide power when and where our Members need it.

You have probably seen articles and news stories about the tight energy market in the West and throughout the country. In its annual nationwide summer reliability assessment, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) found that “two-thirds of North America is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer during periods of extreme demand.” This includes the West.

Trico spends significant time planning for and securing resources to ensure reliability, but the risks described by NERC are regional issues that affect electric utilities across the country. Trico’s mix of resources includes solar, battery, coal, natural gas, and hydro power. This diversity of resources helps to control costs and ensure reliability. Still, on the hottest days, when there are regional weather events affecting several states, power supplies can be strained.

One way we can all help is through energy conservation. We work to achieve that goal in many ways and that includes providing our Members with guidance and tips on how to reduce energy use.

Conservation efforts have multiple benefits, including helping to reduce your bill and reducing stress on the power grid. Relatively small actions can make a significant difference, and understanding how the system works provides you with the tools to conserve. To help reduce your bill and conserve energy, you can take the following actions:

  • Defer use of pool pumps, washers, dryers or dishwashers until after 8 p.m.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Unplug unused electrical devices
  • Close blinds and drapes during the hot part of the day
  • Use fans to supplement your air conditioning
  • Limit time the refrigerator door is open

You may wonder why waiting to run major appliances helps. Typically, the most critical time to conserve energy each day is between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. During that period, energy usage increases as people return home from work, and the output of solar resources tapers off. That means that the stress on the grid is highest at that time.

To be clear, our intent is to provide convenient, simple actions you can take. You don’t have to wait to make dinner or avoid using your air conditioning to make a difference. We want you to enjoy your summer, and taking these actions can help you save on your bill while also helping the grid and your community.

For more tips on saving energy, please follow Trico’s social media, future editions of the Livewire, and our website.