SONI decides when load shedding is needed in Northern Ireland.
Before it turns to load shedding, SONI has other measures it takes to try to overcome a power shortfall, such as importing more power from other regions such as Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.
It can also appeal to consumers to voluntarily reduce their energy consumption — for example by postponing their use of dishwashers and washing machines or asking industrial electricity users to power down for a period of time
But after exhausting these options, if it still needs to reduce demand, SONI will instruct NIE Networks to carry out load shedding.
SONI will confirm how much power needs to be saved, and then NIE Networks will work out how to achieve those reductions.
NIE Networks has a plan for how load shedding should be carried out, including a schedule or a “rota” for the sequence in which particular loads will be shed and restored.
The plans are drawn up by specialist engineers within NIE Networks. The plans can then be implemented immediately when a load shedding event occurs.
This plan seeks to spread the inconvenience equitably: a limited disruption to many, rather than more significant disruption to a smaller number of customers.