ERCOT asks customers to reduce electric use, but can’t force action

Energy fellow at the University of Houston says there’s little the state or electric companies can do to force compliance to reduce electric use

SAN ANTONIO – ERCOT and local energy companies have been alerting Texans to reduce their energy use during peak hours, but other than asking politely, there’s not much they can do to force people to comply.

Nirav Amarnath said the electric bill for his small coffee shop on Broadway has gone up this summer. He’s done what he can at home and the shop to comply with CPS Energy’s requests to lower electricity use.

“I have a lot of smart plugs. So let’s say, for instance, I forget to turn off like our neon sign, our TVs, or something like that, but I can turn (them) off at a certain time and night,” he said.

Amarnath said he can make little changes, but his business relies on electricity.

“I do know it’s harder for the business to, like, conserve energy just because, you know, we have equipment running,” he said.

CPS Energy has issued more than 20 Demand Response Calls asking customers to do everything they can to conserve.

While the program is voluntary, CPS Energy strongly urges businesses to partner with it through its cost-saving programs.

Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston, says there’s little the state or electric companies can do to force compliance to reduce electric use.

“I have a contract for electricity, and I expected to be here when I need it. And so that’s the mindset of probably 99% of all Texans. It’s going to be hard to beat that,” Hirs said.

But he said Texans will be paying more for electricity and will continue to do so until the state builds more generation facilities.

“Texans are going to learn the price of really not paying attention to one of the key components of keeping us in the 21st century that is reliable electricity,” he said.


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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Alexis Montalbo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.