Controlled Outages in Load Shed Events

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 26 million Texas customers. Controlled outages can occur when the demand for electricity in the state, also called the load, exceeds the supply of electricity generated. When this happens, CPS Energy, along with all other utilities, are given a directive by ERCOT to reduce, or shed, electric load. This is done by implementing intermittent controlled outages to customers within each utility’s service territory.  Load shed is intended to prevent larger uncontrollable outages from occurring.  Once the requested amount of load reduction is achieved, controlled outages may continue throughout CPS Energy’s service territory until ERCOT lifts its directive. The goal is to spread the controlled outages across as many customers as possible to minimize the time each customer is affected. As a result, many CPS Energy customers, except those supporting public safety and well-being, such as trauma hospitals and national security facilities, may be impacted by a necessary load shed event. Usually, before controlled outages are implemented, CPS Energy and utilities across the state will ask their customers to voluntarily conserve energy to reduce the amount of electrical demand statewide.  If voluntary conservation measures are not sufficient to balance supply and demand, then load shed is mandated by ERCOT.

Critical Load Designation

Some Commercial and Industrial customers may have locations designated as a Critical Load facility. Critical Load designation is limited to facilities that provide essential services necessary for the safety and well-being of the community. Examples of this would be large hospitals, regional operational command centers serving the greater San Antonio area, water utility providers, and natural gas providers. Commercial and Industrial customers with a Critical Load designation are not protected from controlled outages in load shed events. Still, they may receive priority in restoring a power outage as much as conditions permit. These customers should still have a solid backup plan. If you feel your facility should be designated a Critical Load, please fill out the application at the link below, and email it to [email protected].

Energy Conservation

For conservation tips during energy emergencies or any other time, visit The Public Utility Commission of Texas also has helpful tips at