The operators of the Texas power grid are trying to lessen fears of another blackout, just days before a cold snap is set to hit the state. The Electric Reliability Council has completed on-site inspections at more than 300 electric generation units. That represents about 85-percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri, which shut down big parts of the state in February. In a statement, ERCOT says Texans can be confident the grid is winterized and ready to go. The report shows only ten generation sources they inspected had items that needed correction. They say much of that has already been fixed.
ERCOT said it has completed on-site inspections of mandatory winterization efforts, and inspection results show the independently-owned electric generation fleet and electric transmission companies serving the ERCOT region are ready for winter weather. Inspections were completed at more than 300 electric generation units, representing 85 percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities.
ERCOT says it has filed a preliminary summary inspection report with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and will submit its final inspection report on January 18, 2022 for review and any potential enforcement action. Earlier this year the Legislature increased the maximum penalties for violating weatherization rules to $1,000,000 per day per violation.
“Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power,” said Woody Rickerson, Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization. “New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared.”
ERCOT does not own or operate any electric generation units or electric power lines. ERCOT, however, is responsible for balancing electric supply and demand on an electric grid that serves more than 26 million Texans representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric demand.
Of 302 generation resources inspected, some generators had exceeded PUC winterization requirements. Only ten generation resources inspected had items identified on the day of inspection requiring correction. For example, a generation unit may have needed a windscreen to be compliant, but it was not yet installed on the day of inspection. Many items like this have now been completed since the inspection occurred and all ten units are still operational. The ten generation units have a total capacity of 2,129 megawatts, representing about 1.7 percent of the total ERCOT generation fleet.
Of the 22 transmission station facilities inspected, ERCOT found that six had potential identified deficiencies, most of which have already been corrected. These were generally minor items, such as cabinet heaters out of service or missing weather stripping on cabinet doors on the day of inspection. Most of these items have already been corrected.
ERCOT says it will conduct follow-up inspections on the generation and transmission facilities with potential identified issues. ERCOT and its contractors have spent more than 3,600 hours on these inspection-related activities to date. Additionally, ERCOT and PUC staff are actively monitoring the compliance plans of the generation resources that requested additional time to finalize compliance with the new winterization regulations.