Local restaurant working to conserve energy amid ERCOT request

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 8:12 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - For the second time in three days, ERCOT is asking Texans to conserve electricity during evening hours to avoid forced outages across the state, but its a request many businesses say they struggle to comply with.

Most food related businesses will need to continue running large appliances like refrigerators in order to maintain health department standard temperatures.

Restaurants like La Riv say in addition to coolers and freezers, there are other appliances they simply can’t turn off like the hood vents above their stoves.

“We turn them on in the morning when we start cooking and they have to stay on all day,” La Riv Chef Tony Strauss explained.

However, outside the necessities, Strauss walks around his kitchen noting a number of steps the staff can make to be more mindful of the electricity they use.

“After we finish an order we close the covers to our coolers, so the cool air won’t come out,” he explains.

Before the interview, Strauss asked for time to wipe sweat from his head. He says their keeping the kitchen a few degrees warmer, since its already hotter where they’re cooking anyway.

In the back, staff are hand washing as much as they can to avoid running the dishwasher while things are slow between lunch and dinner.

“Only during dinner will we do a lot of [dishwasher] cycles,” Strauss said.

They’ll also utilize many of their appliances that don’t take electricity with tonight’s menu. Wednesday’s in particular are pizza night at the restaurant, where they feature wood fired pizza menu options.

“The pizza oven uses no electricity. We just build a nice bed of coals in the morning and just throw one or two logs on throughout the day,” he said.

They’ll also rely on their gas stove and grill.

Out in the dining room, a new center piece will help them cut back on electricity used overhead.

“We got these battery powered table lights to light the table so at night we can dim the lights,” Strauss said.

He says they’re also adjusting the temperature in the whole restaurant during closing time to cut back on what’s used overnight.

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