Nacogdoches factories look at pros & cons of optional energy plan

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - It's summer time at Southwest Canners. The higher the temperature the greater the production of soft drinks. A shut down this time of year, means money lost.

"Right now, it would be about $13 a minute per packaging line if we were down," shared plant manager Rod Reed.

No matter the business, loss income and wages are reasons why plants are saying no to interrupted rates.

"They get a cheaper rate overall, but they do have interrupted service and whenever it's needed they can be interrupted," explained Larry Warren, manager of Deep East Texas Electric Co-Op.

Curtailed power orders were seldom enacted, yet companies opting in got their checks anyway for being on stand by. Warren says the Public Utility Commission caught on.

"It was kinda a sweetheart deal, so they said, you will be interrupted. After that came into effect, some of the people who had interrupted rates changed it because they couldn't afford to have the power cut off," said Warren.

Southwest canners is taking at look at the various programs. Decision makers will take into account the problems the statewide rolling blackouts caused last year.

"A lot of the equipment is sensitive. It's not like you're down for 30 minutes or an hour. It may be several hours before you can be back up producing," said Reed. "Last year when a rolling blackouts happened, I just shut the plant down for the day."

Thursday was the last day the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)  issued a power watch. Reed is expecting improved communication from ERCOT to plants will be helpful should the curtailments be necessary again this year.

There are others ways manufacturing plants practice energy conservation. Old equipment is replaced with more efficient machinery, motors can be put on standby mode and more efficient lighting can be installed.