Opinion: PEC Responds to Power Outages, Understands Customers’ Frustration
by Mike Viesca
Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for Pedernales Electric Cooperative
Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) understands many of their members have been without power, some for an extended period of time, and the frustration this can cause. Different events have resulted in the majority of these outages.
Like other electric utilities across the state, PEC is complying with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ (ERCOT) directive to implement service interruptions to ensure stability across the entire statewide grid. The demand for electricity on the ERCOT grid is currently greater than the supply of generated electricity. To protect the grid and ensure it remains stable, the demand is lessened in a controlled way. One way to lessen demand is to conserve electricity.
When demand cannot be adequately reduced through conservation and other measures, ERCOT can require that PEC reduce demand by a specific amount.
The requirement to decrease demand can happen almost instantaneously, and ERCOT can change the amount of the required decrease, up or down, almost instantaneously.
PEC interrupts service to different feeders across PEC’s system for limited periods of time. This has the effect of turning off electricity to the homes and offices on those feeders.
PEC “rotates” these interruptions, meaning that when one set of interruptions is restored, PEC will interrupt service on a different set of feeders; this ensures the same amount of load is interrupted each time, therefore keeping the same decreased demand on the system.
In addition to these interruptions, the extreme temperatures and icy winter weather have led to infrastructure damage across our 8,100-square-mile service territory.
The forecast says the Hill Country is in for another hard freeze overnight.
These temperatures have created hazardous road conditions, particularly at night, that prevent PEC crews from restoring infrastructure power outages until conditions improve. PEC lineworkers and other PEC employees have been working diligently around-the-clock to safely make restorations as quickly as possible. They have made progress; however, PEC members are still without power. PEC will continue to work to get everyone restored as quickly as is safely possible.
This combination of factors has made it difficult for PEC to provide the reliable electric service their members have always counted on. Unfortunately, it appears rotating service interruptions will continue until at least midday Wednesday at the earliest, or when the icy conditions start to dissipate. They ask members to please bear with them as they work their hardest to restore power and resume normal operations as soon as possible.
If you have an outage, please do not call 911 to report the outage; instead, call PEC directly at 888-883-3379, or visit PEC’s SmartHub at www.pec.smarthub.coop. Members with outages should report them directly to PEC at 888-883-3379, or by visiting PEC’s SmartHub. Find the latest information and updates on PEC’s website, pec.coop.
About Mike Viesca (from theorg.com)
Mike Viesca serves as the spokesperson for PEC and oversees all internal and external relations, including Communications & Marketing, Legislative Affairs, and Community Engagement.
Before joining PEC, Viesca served as a vice president at Burson-Marsteller, a premier global communications firm, where he worked with an A-list of Fortune 500 clients and government agencies. He managed crisis communications, grassroots outreach, public awareness, and educational campaign strategies.
Prior to Burson-Marsteller, Viesca served as chief of staff at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, where he oversaw the agency’s organizational communications office. Viesca holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Tech University, and is a native Texan who grew up in the Lubbock area.