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Summer Electricity Supply Outlook

  Summer Electricity Supply Outlook

Sam Houston Electric Cooperative has received several questions from consumer-members about the condition of the electric grid in the United States, particularly about the potential for load shedding this summer.

Load shedding, also referred to as rolling blackouts or brownouts, is a complicated topic, which includes a wide variety of considerations.

Firstly, 99% of Sam Houston EC meters are connected to MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) grid, with less than 1% on ERCOT, which is the focus of much of the attention in Texas.

The Co-op works with other cooperatives in East Texas to generate and purchase reliable electricity for all our consumer-members. Our generation and transmission provider, East Texas Electric Cooperative, has worked in recent years to add a peaking generation unit in San Jacinto County, that provides immediate power in high electricity demand situations. Additionally, the R.C. Thomas Hydroelectric Project and the Hecate Energy Independence Solar Farm have added 28 MW of renewable electricity generation to our area in the past year, powering about 13,000 homes.

It is challenging to predict what will happen this summer. Many factors contribute to a grid operator (like MISO or ERCOT) mandating load shedding such as overall grid conditions in our region, consumer demand for electricity, and the status of electric generation facilities.

Ultimately, the grid operators mandate the load shedding events to protect the health of the entire electric grid. Therefore, Sam Houston EC has no control over when they occur. The Co-op receives just a few minutes’ notice before they are required to go into effect.

What Sam Houston EC can control is how we respond to the mandate from our grid operator, and how we work with our consumer-members. This year, Co-op employees have created an updated load shedding plan. Consumer-members can see an informational page on our website about the plan.

Before load shedding is mandated, MISO and/or ERCOT will begin to ask for the public to reduce their demand for electricity when electric supply sources become insufficient to meet customer demand. The Co-op will share these messages on our website and social media accounts.

Sam Houston EC joins other energy providers in encouraging Texans to follow these alerts when they are issued and conserve energy. To learn how you can conserve, here are some online resources:

The Cooperative also encourages our consumer-members to prepare for extended outages that could occur year-round for various reasons, such as severe storms, hurricanes, or even due to load shedding. Ready.gov has a variety of trustworthy tips and information on how to prepare your home and family.

Sam Houston EC recommends consumer-members conserve electricity whenever possible. Not only will this help reduce your electricity consumption– and your bill–but it will help reduce the overall demand for electricity. Members can even sign up for notifications to understand how your home consumes electricity.

While there is no way to predict with certainty what will happen this summer or in the future, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative is working to ensure that all our members have a supply of reliable electricity whenever they need it. Our leadership is working on new initiatives, and we invite you to watch future issues of Texas Co-op Power magazine and our website for more information.