As the population continues to grow in the state, more demand is put on the electric grid. To put in perspective how much electricity demand has gone up in recent years, the all-time peak demand record in 2019 was 74,820 megawatts set in August of that year, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. In 2023, Texas shattered the record for peak demand 10 times in June, July and August. The final record was set on August 10 at 85,464 megawatts.
By taking energy-saving measures during system peaks each summer, we can all help reduce our transmission costs for the following year and help keep reserves steady.
Each year, transmission costs are based on a value called Four Coincident Peaks, or 4CP. Our 4CP is the measure of CoServ's total energy demand when our statewide transmission system experiences the most overall demand - the four "peaks" - each summer. The lower CoServ's demand is during these peaks, the lower our energy costs will be the following year.
These four peak events occur once each month in June, July, August, and September, usually between the hours of 3 and 8 p.m. They're triggered when system demand is highest: usually on the hottest days of the month during the post-work/dinner hours when we're all arriving home, turning on the air conditioning, starting dinner, and running large appliances like dishwashers.
Peak usage times are unavoidable, but by reducing the amount of energy we use during these peak times we can help control our future costs.
CoServ's cost to buy wholesale electricity varies extensively based on how much demand there is on the larger Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid. The increased cost of buying power during peak times plays a large role in what your electricity costs will be in the future. CoServ accounts for wholesale electricity costs by adjusting the PCRF or Power Cost Recovery Factor.
When Members reduce overall electricity usage during peak times, CoServ doesn't have to purchase as much high-priced electricity, which reduces CoServ's wholesale power costs and, ultimately, reduces future energy costs for Members.
So, while doing the laundry at 5 p.m. won't be any different on an individual Members' next bill compared to doing it overnight, long-term, this affects the PCRF on future bills for all CoServ Members.
CoServ won't know until the end of the month which day was the peak for that month. However, by monitoring weather conditions and demand on the ERCOT grid, CoServ will know when there is the potential for a peak day.
If you have a Google Nest thermostat, you could get paid for reducing air condition usage by signing up for CoServ's Rush Hour Rewards program. If CoServ calls a Rush Hour Reward event, that's because there's a good chance the peak could occur that day. Click here to learn more about Rush Hour Rewards.
Remember that 4CP is a statewide measurement, and sometimes weather in other areas, like Houston or Dallas, can have a significant impact on peak demand across the state.
Usually, peak demand happens between the hours of 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. during the summer months (June - September).
We encourage our Members to conserve electricity where possible to save energy, and money, on their bills. Waiting to do laundry until before or after peak hours, adjusting your thermostat a up few degrees can make a big difference in the overall demand on the Texas grid.
Steer away from using the following major appliances from 3 - 8 p.m.
Raise your thermostat setting a few degrees during peak hours and close the shades to block some of the sun's warmth.
Run this appliance outside of peak hours. You can also save by turning off the heat dry feature.
Install a timer that turns your water heater off during hours when you're not likely to use hot water.
Washer and dryer
Run your washing machine and dryer in the morning or after 8 p.m. Washing in cold water and air-drying laundry can help, too.
Map out your electric car charging times. Avoid charging your car between the hours of 3 and 8 p.m.
Want to get paid to save? For Members with Nest Thermostats, CoServ offers Rush Hour Rewards where Members can earn $10 bill credits each month during the summer, just for allowing their thermostat to be raised a few degrees during peak demand events.
This is an annual program, meaning that every year that you participate your savings continue to stack up!