Texas grid planners extending pilot project to lower peak demand

Texas electric grid planners are extending a program that pays customers who agree  to reduce electricity use during an emergency.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the  grid for most of Texas, will extend through the summer  a pilot project designed to lower the amount of electricity used in emergency conditions, it announced today.

The 30-minute Emergency Response Service Pilot program compensates customers who agree to reduce their electricity use within 30 minutes when called during an emergency situation.

The program introduces price incentives as a way to reduce demand during peak periods, in response to criticism that officials have focused too much on encouraging companies to add generation capacity.

“We expect that demand response will play an increasingly important role in future system reliability, especially during peak seasons,” said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett. “Extending this pilot through a complete summer can help ERCOT determine its viability and value for the future.”

ERCOT has said it hopes to get more summer-demand data in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.