Maybe you’ve heard of ERCOT, but do you actually know what ERCOT is? What does it have to do with electricity and GVEC? More importantly, what does ERCOT have to do with you?
ERCOT is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. By scheduling power on the statewide electricity grid, ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas consumers. This grid connects over 46,500 miles of transmission line, making up about 90% of the state’s electric load.
ERCOT manages electricity for the state by planning how much power they expect to be pulled from the grid every year. Comparing usage from previous years, expected weather conditions and growth in electric demand predicted for upcoming seasons help them plan to have enough power to go around. Their goal is to maintain the electric grid’s reliability by making sure power generation is always equal to consumption while keeping a power reserve margin to cover higher demand occasions—like the hottest days of summer.
ERCOT aims to keep a reserve margin capacity, 12.6% for June-September 2020, which fluctuates seasonally based on forecasted demand. If the reserve margin drops lower than the targeted number, Energy Emergency Alerts (EEAs) may be issued to help preserve grid reliability.
Peak Demand and EEAs
Of course, summer is a season of elevated electricity consumption in Texas. Higher temperatures and people being home more usually means increased usage. Additionally, the hottest part of the day, from 3 to 7 p.m., is when most of the family is home, appliances and electronics are in use, and the temperature on the AC gets lowered. The demand for power usually peaks during this time frame.
If it becomes likely that statewide power consumption may equal or exceed the energy being generated and delivered, ERCOT may begin issuing EEAs to request the public conserve electricity to help increase the reserve margin and, in extreme cases, help avoid the possibility of rotating outages.
In the event ERCOT issue EEAs, GVEC will notify the public and its members though press releases to local media and on its website. You can also stay updated on the situation by following GVEC on Facebook (@GVECsocial), Twitter (@GVEC_Tweets) and Instagram (@GVEC_INSTA).
How Demand Response Programs Help
Demand response programs, like GVEC’s Peak-Time Payback, can help lower demand during seasonal peaks. When you’re enrolled in Peak-Time Payback, if a peak-time event is likely, GVEC will send a command to your programmable ecobee or Nest® thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature and reduce the overall demand on the electric grid. Not only can this help reduce strain on the power grid, it can help stabilize Generation & Transmission rates for our members.