News Release

June 13, 2008

ERCOT NEWS - June 13, 2008

TOPICS:

2009 BUDGET TO BE FILED WITH PUC NEXT WEEK

The ERCOT Board of Directors approved a $223.2 million budget for 2009 including a $0.15 increase in the system administration fee, from $0.4171 to $0.5698 per megawatt hour (MWh) at the May board meeting.  ERCOT staff will file the budget next week with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) for review and approval of the fee. 

The system administration fee is assessed on wholesale energy transactions and becomes part of the overall cost of electricity.  The approximate impact on an average household using 1000 kilowatt-hours/month would be $0.57 per month under the proposed budget.   

ERCOT Region fees also include a $0.17/MWh nodal surcharge, which the PUC approved last month, and the federal Electric Reliability Organization fee of $0.03/MWh.  If including the federal fee and the nodal surcharge of $0.17 per MWh, which is expected to expire by 2013, the total approximate impact on an average household would be $0.77 per month – less than $10 a year. 

The base budget of operating expenses includes staffing for 753 employees and project expenditures of $47.6 million. 

Policy decisions driving the funding requirements are made by regulatory and governmental authorities including the PUC, the Texas Legislature and the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation (NERC).  The budget request includes new functions necessary for nodal operations, primarily the cost for staffing new functions, adding new technology applications and facilities to house new staff and systems; and one-time items for nodal stabilization.  Facilities requirements include space demands for staffing and data center space as required by the nodal market, and relocation of the Austin center due to lease expiration.  The nodal market launch is anticipated in 2009. 

The budget request also provides funding for the independent market monitoring function, the functions of NERC’s Texas Regional Entity, resources necessary to comply with new federal reliability and security mandates, and funds the federally-mandated pass-through charge for the NERC Electric Reliability Organization operation costs. 

REAL-TIME CSC LIMITS CALCULATOR PLACED IN SERVICE

ERCOT System Operations has implemented an automated program to update constraint limits between all congestion zones as often as once an hour, said Vice President of System Operations Kent Saathoff.
”This will allow ERCOT operations to update the CSC (commercially significant constraints) limits in a timelier manner based on current conditions and allow ERCOT to optimize the flow between congestion zones,” Saathoff said.   

The Real-Time CSC Limit Calculator was placed in service in the ERCOT control room on May 28, 2008.   

Next-day forecasted CSC limits are also computed and posted by ERCOT system operations during the day-ahead planning process, based on forecasted system conditions and the day-ahead resource plans submitted by energy schedulers.   

ERCOT has experienced periods in real-time where the flow across the CSCs was below the day-ahead forecast limits, but post-contingency overloads appeared in ERCOT’s Real-Time Contingency Analysis (RTCA).   In other times, the flow across the CSCs has exceeded the day-ahead limits, but there were no post-contingency overloads in RTCA.   

In the past, ERCOT has manually updated the limits under these scenarios but has not been able to keep up with the changes because of the manual process required.  The CSC Limit Calculator automates this process and allows ERCOT to update the limits as often as once an hour.   

MORE THAN 1000 MW NEW GENERATION EXPECTED FOR SUMMER PEAK

Natural-gas generation totaling 743 MW began commercial operations in May including:

  • Laredo peaking power plant, 193 MW, in Webb County
  • Colorado Bend 2 combined-cycle gas plant, 275 MW, in Wharton County
  • Quail Run 2, combined-cycle gas plant, 275 MW, in Ector County.

Also, more than 500 MW of additional new natural gas generation is expected to go online this month in the Victoria and South Houston areas. 

The system planning division is currently tracking 240 active generation interconnection requests totaling over 106,000 megawatts (MW) – including almost 51,000 MW of wind generation – according to the May System Planning Report.  Nuclear projects in the interconnection queue total 15,586 MW; natural gas is at 30,986 MW, and coal is at 8,275 MW.    

One generation interconnection agreement was signed last month: Jackson Mountain Wind in Nolan County, 90 MW.  

The regional planning group is reviewing proposed transmission improvements estimated at $275.9 million.   

The full report is posted with the meeting documents from the Reliability and Operations Subcommittee June 12 meeting.    

NEW ERCOT FAQ SITE AVAILABLE

ERCOT has launched a new Frequently Asked Questions micro site on www.ercot.com.  The site is divided into four sections: Services, Nodal Market Transition, Markets, and Grid Operations and Planning.  Market participants can complete a form to request additions to the FAQs.   

Access the FAQ site at http://faq.ercot.com/.  Links are also available on the ERCOT home page under “Quick Links,” “View Other ERCOT Websites,” and on the top banner. 

ERCOT 2007 ANNUAL REPORT AVAILABLE ON WEB SITE

The ERCOT 2007 Annual Report is now available in the News/Reports section of www.ercot.com.  The 18-page report includes ERCOT Quick Facts, page 2; a five-year financial summary, page 15; and sections on System Operations, System Planning, Market Operations, Information Technology, and Texas Nodal. 

OPERATIONS SEMINAR TRAINS MORE THAN 600 ON NODAL MARKET READINESS

More than 600 operators, traders and analysts participated in ERCOT’s 25th Annual ERCOT Operations Training Seminar during April and May.  Six sessions of the basic training program were presented, covering an overview of the ERCOT nodal market and an introduction to the processes, inputs, outputs, and roles and responsibilities of ERCOT and market participants in the day-ahead market, reliability-unit-commitment; adjustment period and real-time operations.  More than 1,000 ERCOT and market participant personnel have attended the nodal market basic training program, with 70 percent of these from the operations seminar.

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.

Contact

media@ercot.com

512-275-7432