In the media

Texas regulators seek feedback on generation, wires weatherization standards

By Mark Watson

S&P Global Platts

23 July 2021

Jonathan Jacobs, energy and utilities expert at PA Consulting, comments on the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ draft set of weatherization standards for ERCOT.

Click here to read the full S&P Global Platts article.

The article notes that the Public Utility Commission of Texas is seeking comment on a draft set of weatherization standards for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Industry observers have expressed doubt about meeting those standards, but agree upgrading reliability is necessary.

The proposal for new rules in the Texas Administrative Code Section 25.55, PUC Project No. 51840, contains language requiring ERCOT and the Texas State Climatologist to calculate the statistical probabilities of a range of weather scenarios for ERCOT weather zones, the first of which must be filed by the end of 2021.

The new rules would establish three weatherization standards, with different compensation mechanisms for "basic," "enhanced" and "black start service" generation resources, capable of meeting commitments under the 95th percentile, 98th percentile and 99.7th percentiles, respectively, of extreme weather scenarios established in the ERCOT/State Climatologist study.

Cost recovery remains at issue

The PUC has set 3 pm CT on July 30 as the deadline to submit written comments on the draft standards and responses to these questions posed by PUC staff:

  • Where is statistically reliable weather information available for the ERCOT power region?
  • Do existing mechanisms provide sufficient cost recovery for the proposed weatherization standards?
  • If not, what cost recovery mechanisms should be established?

Jonathan said that "it is clear that the Texas PUC needs enhanced weather reliability when they have high – record or near-record – loads. If they are trying to line up sufficient capacity with enhanced reliability they will have to either have enough to cover extra-high [loads] – in which case, why do other resources need 95th percentile reliability? – or they will be explicitly planning to shed load at such times," Jacobs said in an email. "It is likely that this past winter they learned that they don't have a good load shedding plan, and that such a plan is much harder sell politically than any amount of payment for reliability."

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