Although temperatures remain warm and comfortable in Texas, the state is already planning for the upcoming winter season, determined to avoid a repeat of the devastating winter Storm Uri that struck in February 2021. Commissioner Will McAdams of the Texas Public Utilities Commission expressed that… The public is “shocked” by the storm, stressing the need to prioritize preparedness and prevention efforts.
During a recent meeting of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the commission reviewed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)’s plans for next winter. Woody Rickerson, ERCOT’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, acknowledged that severe winter storms like Uri are relatively rare, occurring about once every decade. However, the Commission highlighted the importance of preparing for such events and introduced the concept of Energy Emergency Alerts (EEA).
EEAs are triggered when operating reserves fall to a certain level. EEA1 indicates the need for conservation, EEA2 indicates critical conservation measures and EEA3 indicates the activation of controlled interruptions. Texans should be familiar with these alerts because they will likely be used during the winter.
Energy companies in Texas have taken proactive steps to prevent a repeat of the power outages that occurred during Winter Storm Uri. They have conducted inspections and seizures of the equipment in advance. In addition, many companies offer incentives to non-resident customers who return power to the grid during periods of peak demand, which helps reduce load on the grid and ensure uninterrupted power supply.
Oncor, one of the largest energy providers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, highlighted its load management software during a Texas Public Utilities Commission meeting. This program incentivizes participating providers who work with commercial customers to offset peak demand. Eligible establishments, such as restaurants, retail stores, healthcare facilities, warehouses and office buildings, can receive incentives by participating in freight management.
The ultimate goal is to avoid a repeat of the devastating consequences of Winter Storm Uri, which resulted in prolonged power outages and tragic loss of life. By implementing comprehensive preparedness measures, including equipment inspections and tune-ups, along with enhanced load management and maintenance practices, Texas seeks to ensure a more resilient power grid during the winter.
– Texas Public Service Commission
– Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
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