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03/26/2013

ERCOT adopts new demand reduction pilot program

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) approved a pilot this summer creating a new program to cut electric use during peak demand when power supplies are tight. "The Weather-Sensitive Emergency Response Service pilot is open to electric users — either as individual customers or as part of an aggregated group of consumers — who can reduce power use by at least 100 kilowatts, about the amount 20 homes use during peak demand," ERCOT said in a news release. Participants will be paid "based on how much they reduce demand." ERCOT can use this option when reserves drop below 2,300 megawatts, earlier than existing ERCOT programs.

“During the hottest hours of summer peak days, electric use by residential consumers represents about half of total demand, due mainly to increased use of air conditioning,” said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett. “This pilot will provide new incentives for participants to reduce that weather-related consumption and support reliability for the entire grid."

ERCOT recently released its summer weather outlook, which sees "a significant chance that ERCOT will need to issue Energy Emergency Alerts and appeal for conservation on some days during the upcoming summer season." ERCOT manages power to 23 million Texas customers - representing 85 percent of the state's demand.
-- Jim Fuquay

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