Skip to content

CoServ.com

ATTENTION: CoServ’s customer system is currently unavailable due to maintenance. We appreciate your patience during this time.

ERCOT has issued a Conservation Appeal for Thursday, September 7th from 5 – 9 p.m. Visit ERCOT.com to learn more.

When autocomplete results are available use up and down arrows to review and enter to go to the desired page. Touch device users, explore by touch or with swipe gestures.

Texas Electric Grid

CoServ is a local distribution utility, which means we buy power from generators throughout Texas to serve our Members. For more than 80 years, CoServ has purchased the majority of its power from Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, a Waco-based co-op that served CoServ and 15 other co-ops. The remaining power purchases were done through the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market.

Brazos filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2021 in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. Click here to learn more about the Brazos bankruptcy and what that means for CoServ.

As part of the Brazos bankruptcy, Brazos will be selling their generation assets in 2023 and CoServ will no longer have a power purchase agreement to buy power from them.

Starting in March 2023, CoServ began buying power directly from any of the more than 1,000 generating plants and other power traders that sell power in the ERCOT market. CoServ expects this move will save the co-op millions of dollars per year.

The information below explains who ERCOT is, how Mandated Load Shed works, ERCOT's Energy Emergency Alerts and what to expect during Controlled Outages.

Who is ERCOT?

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is a nonprofit corporation authorized by the Texas Legislature and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load.

As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 710 generation units.

For more information, visit ERCOT.com.

ERCOT Energy Emergency Alerts

ERCOT will initiate its Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) system in the event demand exceeds supply. Alerts range from calls for conservation to a declaration of a statewide power emergency that could result in controlled outages.

2023_web_ERCOT-GridNormal

ERCOT grid conditions are normal.

Voluntary Conservation Notice

ERCOT may ask consumers to conserve power by adjusting their thermostats and limiting the use of appliances.

Energy Emergency Level 1: Conservation is Needed.

Operators can drop large commercial/industrial load resources that have entered contracts agreeing to be interrupted during an emergency.

Energy Emergency Level 2: Conservation is Critical.

ERCOT operators have the authority to call on all available power supplies, including power from other grids, if available.

Energy Emergency Level 3: Controlled Outages in Progress.

ERCOT requires controlled outages to reduce demand and ensure the state electric grid's stability. These controlled outages typically last 30 to 60 minutes per rotation.

Controlled Outages (Mandated Load Shed)

Controlled outages are controlled, planned service interruptions designed to ensure grid stability and prevent grid failure. If demand is projected to exceed supply, ERCOT will call for energy conservation. If grid conditions do not improve, they will initiate their Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) system, a declaration of a statewide power emergency that could result in controlled outages.

Accounts that are critical during an emergency or provide major support to the electric system during an emergency may be listed as a Commercial Critical Care Account*. Visit Critical Care – Commercial Accounts for more information.

* Critical Care distinctions do not guarantee an uninterrupted supply of electricity. 

What to Expect During Controlled Outages

During extreme circumstances, and at the direction of ERCOT, the Texas grid manager, CoServ may have to initiate controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service called controlled outages to reduce demand and ensure the state electric grid’s stability.

If CoServ is required to help lower the demand grid, we will initiate controlled outages. These controlled outages should only last 30 to 60 minutes per rotation.

Should you experience an extended outage of one hour or more, please utilize SmartHub or text OUT to 855-938-3496 to report a possible outage unrelated to this situation.

Click here to access and bookmark our Outage Map.

We want to do our part to keep the electric grid stable. To learn ways you can help, check out our energy-saving tips.

Controlled Outages FAQ

Who orders load shed and why?

“When there is not enough generation available to serve consumers’ demand for electricity, and all other solutions available to ERCOT have been exhausted, ERCOT will instruct utilities to reduce power on the system to balance supply and demand. This is referred to as load shed.“ (Source: ERCOT)

How do we get to the point where Controlled Outages are necessary?

Physical Responsive Capacity (PRC) is a measurement of operating reserves to meet increased demand for energy.  PRC is similar to bench depth on a sports team.  These are resources that would be available and helpful in different ways to meet the needs of the team to accomplish their goal. Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 is triggered when the PRC drops below 1,000 MW and is not expected to recover within 30 minutes.  This condition indicates that demand exceeds supply.  When this occurs, the system frequency will decrease.  To prevent damage and the possible failure of generators as they try to keep up with the increased demand, demand is reduced through controlled outages.

Why does CoServ have to comply with these requests?

ERCOT instructs electric transmission and distribution utilities to reduce power on the system to balance supply and demand.  CoServ is obligated to follow instructions from ERCOT under PUCT regulations.

These controlled outages help establish grid stability by keeping generators available.  Controlled outages are stopped when demand is anticipated to not exceed supply any longer and restoration will not jeopardize grid stability.  In a worst-case scenario, if the state’s electric grid becomes unstable and collapses, restoration could range from weeks to months depending upon the primary cause of failure.

What to expect from CoServ during an ERCOT EEA event?

CoServ continually monitors grid conditions and maintains contact with ERCOT. CoServ has several processes in place to communicate with Members during EEA events. Communications may include website and social media updates, email, SmartHub and text alerts.

How does CoServ conduct controlled outages and do some feeder lines or circuits receive priority over others?

Controlled outages typically last 30 to 60 minutes. During these outages, service is interrupted to several feeders at a time to meet load shed requirements before rotating on to another section.

CoServ’s Critical Load designation is a listing of nonresidential Members that can be classified as public safety, industrial, or natural gas infrastructure, and have an approved Critical Load application with CoServ.  Critical load designations are determined based upon PUCT substantive rules.  When controlled outages are mandated, CoServ rotates feeders in the time blocks described while prioritizing designated Critical Loads for restoration as much as practicable.  Critical Load designation does not guarantee an uninterrupted, regular, or continuous power supply.

When do controlled outages occur?

If electric generation cannot meet consumer demand, typically during periods of extreme heat or cold temperatures, ERCOT begins emergency operations and activates its Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) System. Typically, before requesting controlled outages, ERCOT takes other steps to reduce demand, including requests for energy conservation. However, as a last resort and to prevent uncontrolled blackouts, ERCOT will instruct utilities to implement controlled outages. The outages could occur without notice because there are emergency orders from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). All electric utilities must comply until ERCOT determines that controlled outages are no longer needed.

What should I do when ERCOT issues a call for conservation or an Energy Emergency Alert?

Everyone must work together to conserve energy when ERCOT requests conservation. Reducing electricity usage early could prevent the grid from reaching more critical levels that could force ERCOT to call for controlled outages. Visit our Energy Efficiency section for conservation tips.

What is a Residential Critical Care Account?

If someone who lives in your home uses life-sustaining equipment, your account may qualify as a Residential Critical Care Account*. Visit Critical Care – Residential Accounts for more information.

* Critical Care distinctions do not guarantee an uninterrupted supply of electricity. 

How do you qualify as a Commercial Critical Care Account?

Accounts that are critical during an emergency or provide major support to the electric system during an emergency may be listed as a Commercial Critical Care Account*. Visit Critical Care – Commercial Accounts for more information.

* Critical Care distinctions do not guarantee an uninterrupted supply of electricity. 

Scroll To Top