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PEC takes the heat without ‘significant outages’

PEC lineman

Pedernales Electric Cooperative lineworkers were given more breaks and stayed hydrated over 78 days of triple-digit temperatures this summer. Courtesy photo

As of Sept. 12, Central Texas had experienced 78 days of triple-digit temperatures, a fact that taxed Pedernales Electric Cooperative but did not result in any extended loss of power in its service area. 

“We did experience some issues with transformers, our load, and conductor equipment — a few more than last summer,” a PEC spokesperson said in emailed answers to questions from 

“We have plans and systems in place to address heat stressors. So far, PEC has managed the heat without significant outages.” 

Both PEC and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state’s electrical grid, experienced unprecedented peaks in demand throughout the summer, PEC Chief Executive Officer Julie Parsley told the Board of Directors at its regular meeting on Friday, Sept. 15. 

She displayed a chart comparing generation and peak demand in 2000 to 2023. It showed a 45 percent increase in demand and an increasing diversity in generating capacity. 

In 2000, natural gas generated 66.6 percent of the state’s electricity; coal, 24.6 percent; and nuclear, 7.1 percent. No solar or storage was available, and wind only provided 0.2 percent. 

In 2023, natural gas dropped to 41.8 percent and coal to 10.8 percent. The biggest changes have been in increases in solar, which now provides 11.1 percent of the state’s electricity, and wind at 28.6 percent. Nuclear is down to 4 percent, hydro at 0.5 percent, other at 1.1 percent, and storage at 2.2 percent. 

The peak demand in 2000 was 57,606 megawatt-hours. ERCOT set an all-time new peak demand on Aug. 10 this year at 85,435 MWh. 

“ERCOT experienced 10 new all-time peaks as of Aug. 23,” Parsley said. “They put out six consecutive conservation appeals in August, and there have been two so far in September.” 

Conservation appeals ask consumers statewide to cut back on energy usage during high-demand times of the day when the supply of wind and solar drops. 

On Sept. 6, ERCOT initiated an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 but never had to go to Level 3, which would have meant controlled outages across Texas.

No controlled outages were required of PEC, but its system was kept on high alert during those times. 

“We’ve been in constant contact with our control center,” PEC Vice President of Operations Virgil Maldonado told “When they (ERCOT) tell us we’re in conservation, we keep crews at the office on standby and stage them appropriately so they’re ready to respond to possible outages that can occur following mandated outages.”

Crews and control center staff were kept on hold to respond to any emergencies as the heatwave continued. Member relations agents were also always available to assist with member calls, the PEC spokesperson said.

“We keep our members informed of ERCOT conservation appeals, energy emergency alerts and the potential for mandated controlled outages through text messages, social media, and our website,” the spokesperson continued. “We additionally work with our commercial and industrial accounts, as well as our local officials.”

Lineworkers take the physical brunt of any weather-related emergencies, including having to work in 100-plus-degree weather. Despite the months-long heatwave, PEC lineworkers set a new record in meter installations with 2,500 placements.

Along with making sure crews are kept hydrated, PEC shifted crew hours and added lineworkers to shorten time in the bucket trucks and allow for more breaks. 

“It’s been a long summer, but we’re just extremely proud of our linemen for the continued work they’ve shown throughout this record-breaking summer,” Maldonado said. 

The co-op made it out of summer without any major heat-related incidents, according to PEC’s emailed statement.

PEC encourages its members to keep a mobile number and email address on file with the cooperative to receive alerts and other communications. Members can update their information and confirm those contacts are correct by visiting PEC’s SmartHub or calling 888-554-4732.

Additional information is available online at, including tips to stay cool and to conserve.