Public Utility Commission could take action to redesign Texas electricity market

ERCOT asking Texans to conserve power amid heat wave
ERCOT asking Texans to conserve power amid heat wave
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:18 AM CST
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On Thursday, the Public Utility Commission is expected to discuss and possibly take action on a plan to redesign Texas’ electricity market.

After the deadly winter storm of 2021, ERCOT made changes to prevent a future power grid crisis, including:

  • Weatherization and inspections
  • Having an additional source of fuel onsite for generators
  • Scheduled maintenance periods
  • Improved Communications

“Last summer we set 11 all time power generation records and last month we weathered brutally freezing temperatures across the state all without any disruptions to the grid,” Governor Greg Abbott said on Wednesday.

“We found that there’s been some significant improvements from the 2021 storm,” Dallas Fed Senior Business Economist Garrett Golding said.

However, he said looking at last month’s extreme cold there’s still vulnerabilities.

“We still saw that there was some natural gas production that was freezing,” he said. “Despite winterization efforts across the oil fields, we still saw some power plants to offline due to the conditions.”

He says improved enforcement of weatherization standards, incentives for thermal power plant development and enhanced demand-response programs would help.

Meanwhile, Texas Legislators have ordered the Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT, to create a reliability standard for the state’s electricity market.

Thursday, it’s expected to discuss and possibly act on a preferred plan.

SMU Maguire Energy Institute Director Bruce Bullock said that plan would leave the basics of the market unchanged.

“They do have a preferred plan that would provide credits to generators that are based upon reliability,” he said. “Those that have a good record to stay online and generate power and in that regard those credits, somebody has to pay for them.”

He said eventually, it’s expected this cost will trickle down to the consumer, so you might end of up having to pay for this but the good news is he doesn’t expect it to be much.

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