News Release

May 22, 2006

ERCOT at a Glance: News Update - May 23, 2006


ERCOT Fully Compliant on 2005 NERC Standards

ERCOT received a “full complianceâ€? on the North American Electric Reliability Council’s 2005 reliability standards, according to David W. Hilt, vice president and director of compliance for NERC.  The 2005 assessment covered eight standards including steady-state and dynamics system models, disturbance monitoring equipment, special protection system assessment and other assessment data.  NERC is an industry-based organization that develops and maintains reliability standards for bulk electric power grids in North America.

“I would like to personally congratulate and thank ERCOT for putting forth the effort to make the 2005 NERC Compliance Enforcement Program a success,â€? Hilt said in a May 10th letter to ERCOT Manager of Compliance Mark Henry.  “This truly reflects well on the ERCOT Region, its members and customers working to preserve the reliability of the North American bulk electric system.â€?

April System Planning Report Posted

Interconnection requests increased by 1,919 MW in April, according to the April System Planning Report.  Four new generation interconnection requests were received for screening studies in April.  The total capacity of active generation interconnection requests is 27,865 MW.

Other highlights of the report include:

CREZ Consultant Selected:  ERCOT has contracted with AWS Truewind to define specific areas to be considered as potential Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZs).  Senate Bill 20, signed into law August 2005, requires the Public Utility Commission to designate CREZs and develop transmission plans to deliver the power from these zones to customers.  ERCOT will work with Truewind to define the potential CREZs based on consistency of wind patterns, sufficiency of wind generation potential, inclusiveness of most areas from stakeholder input, and similarity of transmission interconnection. 

ERCOT Reviewing Fuel Forecast:  ERCOT is working cooperatively with Southwest Power Pool staff to investigate potential fuel price forecasts.

Combined Cycle Stability Model RFP Finalized:  ERCOT has finalized a request-for-proposals (RFP) to be issued to assist in the development of a Combined Cycle Stability Model.

Private Network Survey Distributed:  ERCOT has distributed a survey to private networks in order to accurately account for their generation/resources as part of the on-going project to update the annual Capacity, Demand and Reserves report.

The April System Planning Report is posted in the May 15 ROS meeting Key Documents.

ERCOT Receives High Scores from Market Participants

ERCOT received high marks on a third-party survey of market participants’ perceptions of ERCOT’s performance.  Perceived strengths included staff performance; communications and Web site improvements; timeliness, accuracy and format of data provided; and effective training, according to Opinion Dynamics Corporation.

Some of the highest scores were in the areas related to performance of ERCOT’s corporate objectives (from Senate Bill 7 legislative directive):

  • Nondiscriminatory access to transmission and distribution: 8.4
  • Ensuring reliability of the grid: 8.0
  • Accurate accounting of electric production and delivery (financial settlement): 7.8
  • Timely information about customer’s choice of retail electric provider: 7.6

Responses of 6.6 or above are considered favorable ratings, and responses of 7.5 and above are considered “extremely positive responses,â€? the consultants said in a presentation to the ERCOT Board of Directors May 16.  The February survey was a follow-up to a 2004 market participant survey, also conducted by Opinion Dynamics. 

All areas showed improvement except for project management.  ERCOT has already implemented changes to restructure the project management area.

“This feedback is really cause for celebration,â€? said Sam Jones, acting CEO.  “It reminds us that for the things that matter most to the market participants – what we do day in and day out to ensure reliability and to manage the retail and wholesale markets – we are clearly meeting expectations and doing a superb job in the view of our market participants.  This speaks very well of our employees,â€? Jones said.  “I appreciate their great effort.â€?

The consultant''s presentation is available on the ERCOT Web site.

ERCOT Files Request with PUC for Nodal Surcharge

ERCOT filed a request May 5 with the Public Utility Commission requesting approval of a nodal surcharge at the interim level of $0.0663 per MWh.  The temporary nodal fee would be assessed in addition to the regular $.4171 ERCOT system administration fee.  ERCOT’s filing requests an effective date as early as possible in June 2006 so that ERCOT may enter into long-term contracts with vendors and suppliers essential to implementation of the nodal market.  To meet the PUC’s projected timeframe, ERCOT has already begun planning for the market redesign and expending funds in support of it, although those costs are not included in ERCOT’s 2006 budget approved by the PUC.

Operations Completes Hurricane Drill

Transmission operators and energy schedulers from across the ERCOT region participated in a severe weather drill May 8-10.  The drill simulated a hurricane hitting the Texas coast.  Qualified Scheduling Entities (QSEs) and Transmission Operators (TOs) were able to test backup emergency plans and practice communication with ERCOT and other entities in events leading up to the hurricane, as well as simulated restoration activities.  ERCOT coordinated the drill from its operator training center in Taylor. 

The annual severe weather drill is required under ERCOT Operating Guides.  The Operations Working Group will review and critique the results to ensure effectiveness and recommend changes as necessary.  ERCOT Compliance will verify and report entity participation to the Reliability and Operations Subcommittee. 

ERCOT May 16 Board Meeting Presentations Posted

Presentations from the ERCOT Board of Directors May 16 meeting are available on the ERCOT Web site, including:

  • April 17, 2006 EECP Event
  • 2006 Reforecast and 2007 Budget Planning
  • Protocol Revision Requests
  • Information Technology Report
  • Market Operations Update
  • Capital Projects

Presentations are posted under Key Documents.

ERCOT Meeting Calendar

May 2006

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 25 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 650+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas.

ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.