In a report to its Board of Directors, The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced that demand response providers performed better than expected — and in excess of their contracted commitments — during a powerful winter storm, known as the Polar Vortex, that caused outages at several power plants on Jan. 6, 2014. 

The severity of the Jan. 6 storm put ERCOT's grid at risk for significant failure.  According to ERCOT's report, hundreds of Texas businesses, schools, local governments and individuals participating in demand response provided 496MW of capacity to the grid within 46 minutes of being called, an amount equal to the output of an average sized coal fired power plant. As the report finds, demand response programs exceeded expectations by delivering 127% of the power contracted. This demonstrates once again that demand response can help independent system operators and electric utilities maintain grid reliability.

"This event shows that demand response is not just a summer resource," said Rick Counihan, chairman of AEMA. "As a proven year-round resource, demand response will be available to reduce pressure on the grid today and in the future, while empowering consumers to make choices about their energy consumption."

Demand response programs enable consumers to reduce their energy usage in return for compensation. In addition to directly saving consumers money, demand response makes the electric grid more efficient, more reliable, more environmentally friendly, and less expensive according to The Advanced Energy Management Alliance (AEMA), a coalition of demand response consumers and providers.