Medium and large commercial electric customers in the Dallas and Forth Worth areas may soon have a new opportunity to save money on their electric bill by curtailing load at the request of Oncor during peak times.

Oncor currently runs a "Commercial Load Management" program which pays participants for each kilowatt (kW) of reduced load during curtailment events -- which are times during which Oncor instructs participants to reduce, or curtail, load.  Participation is currently capped at 50 megawatts (MW).

Under the 2011 Commercial Load Management program, Oncor paid $20 per kW for unscheduled curtailments called by Oncor (which are called with one hour's notice), as well as $10 per kW for scheduled curtailments during testing.

Due to the generation capacity shortage expected in Texas energy this summer (which has previously noted here) Oncor has proposed to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) increasing the Commercial Load Management program by an additional 50 MW for the summer of 2012.  This would provide the Oncor service area with an extra "cushion" if demand is projected to exceeded supply, and could help avoid rolling blackouts.

Oncor's request must be approved by the Public Utility Commission.

Although not explicit, it appears that the terms for the incremental 50 MW of Commercial Load Management curtailable load would be the same as for the existing Commercial Load Management program, including payments for load reductions.

Under the program, eligible "Curtailable Load" must produce savings through an interruption of electrical consumption during the summer peak demand period, and project sponsors must commit to making the "Curtailable Load" available for one peak season.

Eligible "Curtailable Load" is considered to be load listed on the project application that will be available for curtailment.  This could be building(s) or individual end-use equipment that creates demand reduction during the summer electricity peak demand period.

Other requirements include:

• Loads must be located in Oncor's service area and serviced by an Oncor electric meter

• Loads must have at least 700 kW of electric demand

• A single project may involve more than one customer facility

• Loads must be able to reduce electric load within an hours notice during the on-peak demand period, defined as the hours between 1:00 p.m. to 7:00p.m., Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday, June through September, excluding weekends and federal holidays.

• Each project must achieve a total estimated demand savings of at least 100 kW during the on-peak demand period.

• Load reductions must be verified by Oncor.

• Each participating site must have an interval data recorder (IDR) meter