Help Rice prevent brownouts this summer

Rice is partnering with CenterPoint Energy and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to help reduce the possibility of area-wide electricity brownouts and blackouts over the summer months.

Voluntary load-sharing programs reduce electricity consumption for brief periods of time, such as during periods of peak electrical demand or when key power transmission lines or generating facilities are down. These programs significantly reduce the possibility of interruption of electrical service to consumers in the greater Houston area.

Rice has successfully participated in these programs for the past four years with outstanding results, which has also helped offset university utility costs, said Richard Johnson, director of the Administrative Center for Sustainability and Energy Management.

Load-sharing began June 1 and will continue through Sept. 30. The conservation periods will last four hours or less and can occur any time of the day or night. Email notifications will be sent to the campus, usually 30 minutes prior to the event, if the event falls within the university’s hours of operation, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The university asks that when notified via email, members of the campus community do the following:

  • Turn off nonessential lights in offices, conference rooms and break rooms.
  • Turn off discretionary appliances (unused computers, coffee makers and other electrical items).
  • Make sure all doors and windows are closed.
  • Insure all temperature settings are within administrative guidelines (74-78 degrees).

Air conditioning will be setback for brief periods of time in all areas not designated as research or laboratory usage. Research, lab buildings and the BioScience Research Collaborative will not be affected.

For more information, contact Eric Valentine in Facilities, Engineering and Planning at or visit


About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is a Web editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.