AUSTIN, Texas — The Electric Reliability Commission of Texas is making changes to prevent another mass outage, like the one Texans experienced in February's big freeze event.
In a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature and the Public Utility Commission (PUC), interim ERCOT President and CEO Brad Jones explained several of the changes.
"Change is required for ERCOT to continue to reliably serve the millions of customers and businesses that depend on us," said ERCOT Interim President and CEO Brad Jones in a press release. "We have extensively reviewed our processes to better serve Texans and will continue to work very closely with the PUC to ensure we’re aligned in these efforts. These changes will benefit all Texans and support continued economic growth for the state of Texas."
The new plan is called the "Roadmap to Improving Grid Reliability." ERCOT representatives say it addresses operational improvements to the Texas power grid, including important legislative changes.
"ERCOT’s Roadmap puts a clear focus on protecting customers while also ensuring that Texas maintains free-market incentives to bring new generation to the state," said PUC Chairman and ERCOT Board Member Peter Lake in a press release. "Texans deserve a more reliable grid, and we're aggressively moving to make that a reality."
The plan outlines a more aggressive approach to power generation, adds new weatherization expectations, adds new communication requirements, and other changes.
One of the key changes is that ERCOT plans to bring more power generation online sooner in moments when the grid needs it the most. Changes like this might have come in handy during Texas' big freeze event that left millions of Texans without power and killed at least 210 people.
Another key change is the requirement of the CEO's of Texas grid power suppliers to submit a letter signed by their CEO twice a year, certifying their companies have completed their weatherization preparations before winter and summer hits Texas. Generators will also be required to provide operational updates more often.
The new plan also addresses the need for on-site fuel supplies for some generators and establishes unannounced testing of generator resources for more accurate information about their availability.