You’ve probably heard the old Texas weather cliché, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes.” Our beautiful state is home to hot and cold temperature extremes, severe storms, high winds, baseball-sized hail and even a sprinkling of snow every once in a while.
At CPS Energy, we monitor the weather obsessively, as it’s not only the main culprit of service disruptions but also the #1 cause of high bills. We receive regular reports from Schneider Electric, an information services company that provides cutting edge weather data to 70% of major public utilities in the U.S. We also have a dedicated team of employees that keeps an eye on the skies to make sure your energy needs are met.
“Any way that weather impacts the company, I’m there,” said Kyle Sanchez, Meteorologist Data Analyst. “I forecast the weather for the day ahead so that we know if there are storms in the vicinity and how they will affect our customers.”
Kyle reports to Kevin Pollo, Director of Day Ahead and Real Time. Kevin works directly with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to forecast the amount of energy that will be used around the state on any given day and ensures that CPS Energy customers get what they need. This includes making sure that weather has a minimal impact.
“Weather drives our energy demand, so the accuracy of our weather forecast is important so that we can get a better idea of our energy usage,” Kevin said. “Generally, that’s going to be provided by our own units, but knowing how much energy we need can help us make a decision on whether we need to go buy more power. We don’t want to expose our customers to high market prices.”
Statewide plans are put into place when severe weather approaches or when extreme temperatures, such as the summer heat, cause higher energy demand.
“ERCOT does a lot of preparation by releasing hurricane outlooks and other severe weather outlooks,” Kyle said. “The American Meteorological Society also has done research on how the public takes in weather data, so they’ve made some adjustments to make sure that people know when to take action.”
Kevin explained that CPS Energy also carefully plans maintenance of their generation units around weather and energy demand. In essence, weather affects every part of the business.
“We look at a lot of different data,” Kevin said. “We use Schneider Electric, we look at our local weather forecasts as well as the forecast that Kyle puts together for us. We also watch the weather in Houston and Dallas since that affects the statewide demand. We use all those forecasts for all parts of our planning.”
So whether it’s hot or cold, or even if it’s one of those rare temperate Texas days, the team at CPS Energy will always be watching the weather to make sure you can go about your business.
“Through science, we can really understand how the weather works, not just here in San Antonio but all around Texas,” said Kyle. “It’s remarkable how much it impacts us, but we will always be thinking of how it affects our customers.”