Load Shed Information
Important Information About Electricity Load Shedding and What It Could Mean to You
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas electricity customers. ERCOT is responsible for ensuring that the supply of electricity is sufficient to meet member demand (load) for electricity in most of the state.
When electric supply provided by all available power generation plants, wind farms and other sources becomes insufficient to meet member demand, ERCOT begins emergency operations. During a power emergency when electric supply cannot meet consumer demand for electricity and all other operational tools have been exhausted, the demand for electricity must be reduced to avoid uncontrolled blackouts. As a last resort, ERCOT will instruct electric utilities to implement controlled electricity customers outages to reduce the customer demand for electricity on the ERCOT grid. This is referred to as load shed and will last until the power emergency is resolved by ERCOT.
Typically, before calling for controlled electricity customer outages, ERCOT takes steps to reduce the demand on the electric grid by asking electricity customers to reduce electric usage. All electric utilities and electric cooperatives, including Nueces Electric Cooperative, are obligated to immediately implement load shed procedures when ERCOT instructs.
During member load shed events:
- All members should assume their power could go out without advanced warning. Efforts will be made, as much as possible, to provide advanced notification of pending outages, but circumstances do not always allow that to happen.
- Members designated as Critical Load, in accordance with PUC §25.497, are not guaranteed an uninterrupted supply of electricity. It is the responsibility of the retail member to make necessary arrangements for alternative sources of electric power should a localized outage or load shed event occur.
- Residential members dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, such as those designated as Critical Care or Chronic Condition, in accordance with PUC §25.497, are encouraged to have a solid back-up plan in the event they lose electricity. It is important to note that these members are not excluded from controlled outages and may lose power during a load shed event. Anyone who depends on electricity for life-sustaining equipment should have a back-up plan in place.
- The procedure for a member to apply to be considered a critical care residential member, a critical load industrial member, or critical load according to commission rules, can be found on NEC’s website at: https://www.nueceselectric.org/critical-care-renewal-letter-0
- NEC will prioritize continuity of service for certain members whose service is critical to the community during an emergency or those whose service provides major support to the integrity of the electric system during an emergency. Examples include hospitals, major airports, critical natural gas and water supply systems, and 911.
- Because a load shed event is an emergency order from ERCOT based on a shortfall of electricity being generated NEC will not have the information to be able to notify individual members if they may lose power, when they may lose power or how long the load shed event may last.
- In extreme power emergencies, ERCOT may require electric utilities & co-ops to shed large amounts of load over long periods of time. In these instances, NEC may not have the ability to rotate outages without risking the stability of the entire electric grid. When this happens, some members may be without power for an extended period of time. These outages are critical for ensuring the integrity of the state's electric grid and preventing a system-wide blackout, which could be long-lasting and have a significant impact on all aspects of life.
- Electric utilities & cooperatives are required to continue to comply with ERCOT controlled member outage instructions until ERCOT determines that they are no longer required.
- The Public Utility Commission of Texas website (Hot and Cold Weather, and General Energy-Saving Tips) provides examples for members to reduce electricity use at times when involuntary load shedding events may be implemented.
Regardless of the nature of the load shedding event, Nueces Electric Cooperative is committed to ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of electricity to its members 24-hours-per-day, 7-days-per-week. While NEC may not control the issues or conditions that have required ERCOT’s order to shed load, we will do everything in our power to restore electricity when we are able to safely do so. In addition, we will work to keep our members informed about the situation through local media outlets, social media, and direct communications to you.