Load Shedding Process
In the State of Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texans. That includes our DME customers.
One of ERCOT’s primary responsibilities is to make sure the supply of electricity is enough to meet customer demand (load) in most of the state. Things can happen to disrupt this balance, such as congestion on transmission lines, generation outages, or extreme weather events. If this balance is not maintained, a critical failure could occur on part or all of the Texas electric grid, resulting in a state or regional blackout.
To prevent a catastrophic failure of the grid, ERCOT will call for electric utilities to implement emergency measures up to and including mandatory load shedding (cutting power), which is the last step effort to preserve the electric grid.
In order to meet its obligations, DME takes great care to identify and prioritize circuits that can be used to shed the load of the community. After voluntary resources are exhausted, and ERCOT requests load shed, DME starts with its circuits identified as non-critical. These circuits are used to provide load-shedding support. The majority of these circuits are residential. In order to minimize the time and quantity of customers who are impacted at any given time by the load shed event, several circuits can be rotated across the city to add up to the necessary load being requested. The length of the rotation could be from 30 minutes up to an hour, depending on the situation.
If ERCOT’s request exceeds the capacity DME has identified in its non-critical circuits, then DME will go to its second category of circuits. These circuits are identified as critical in that a power loss may result in a reduction of vital services or whose loss of power could create an unsafe condition in the community. Lastly are the circuits that are deemed most critical. These circuits feed critical infrastructure, which is crucial for the protection of public health and safety.
DME Load Shed Procedures
- Notice issued by ERCOT. Potential emergency conditions
- ERCOT issues an emergency alert. DME sends notice to customers to voluntarily conserve
- Mandatory request from ERCOT for customers on emergency response to drop load
- ERCOT issues mandatory load shed. DME begins with the lowest priority circuit
DME is dedicated to ensuring our customers enjoy a safe and reliable electric service. While DME may not be in control of all the issues impacting the electric grid or ERCOT’s order to shed load, you can be assured that DME will take every step necessary to communicate issues impacting the electric grid and to minimize the impact to our customers.