News Release

July 16, 2008

ERCOT NEWS - July 16, 2008

TOPICS:

  • Revised Nodal Schedule, Budget Expected In September
  • Board Endorses Transmission Project In Presidio Area
  • Legislative Presentation Available Online
  • New Planning, Operations Web Site Launched
  • Nodal Program Leadership Change Announced
  • Market Operations Vice President Leaving

REVISED NODAL SCHEDULE, BUDGET EXPECTED IN SEPTEMBER

Chief Information Officer and Nodal Executive Sponsor Ron Hinsley reported to the board that the nodal program was over budget to date by $5 million through June.  Hinsley also reported that overall program contract commitments and anticipated program-to-date spend through July may exceed the overall approved budget of $319.5 million.  However, Hinsley also stressed that actual spend for nodal will not exceed budget within the next 60 days.  

The nodal team is working on a revised integrated nodal program schedule, based on a September operational date for the CIM Importer (Common Information Model importer that converts data from the Network Model Management System into the Energy Management System).  Hinsley said a revised schedule and new budget will be presented to the board at the September 16 meeting, following input from the market participants through the Texas Nodal Transition Plan Task Force. 

BOARD ENDORSES TRANSMISSION PROJECT IN PRESIDIO AREA

The ERCOT Board of Directors voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a $67 million project for reliability improvements in the Presidio area.  The project, proposed by American Electric Power Service Corporation, includes:

  • A 138/69-kV autotransformer at Alamito Creek substation, scheduled for 2008, estimated at $4 million
  • Two 2.4 megawatt (MW) sodium-sulfur battery units at Presidio, 2009, $15 million
  • A new 69-kV line designed for 138-kV operations from Alamito Creek to Chinati to Presidio to replace an old 69-kV line constructed in 1948 and in deteriorating condition, 2012, $48 million.  

In the ERCOT region, the cost of transmission is rolled into a “postage-stamp” rate (the same access fee regardless of location) that all ratepayers pay. 

ERCOT STAFF REPORTS TO BOARD

The System Planning Report highlights included:

  • ERCOT is currently tracking 246 active generation interconnection requests totaling 106,000 MW, including almost 54,000 MW of wind generation
  • New interconnection agreement was signed in June for Lufkin Biomass in Angelina County, 45 MW; in-service Sept. 2009
  • Regional planning staff is currently reviewing proposed transmission improvements with a total cost of $575 million
  • Transmission projects energized in the second quarter of 2008 total $160 million.

The Grid Operations Report included a summary of the June 18 event in which operators went to Step 1 of the Electric Emergency Curtailment Procedures.  Primary factors were a peak load 2,100 MW higher than the day-ahead load forecast due to temperature predictions being lower than actual (precipitation failed to materialize as forecast).  Operations deployed non-spinning reserves in all zones and procured 3,003 MW of additional capacity.  Action items from the event will be development of a methodology for taking into account forecast risks and implementation of Protocol Revision Request 763 which incorporates the AWS Truewind forecast into the day-ahead resource procurements.
Other items included:

  • West to North zone congestion was recorded on 20 days in May, compared to 2 days in May 2007. North to Houston congestion totaled 17 days, compared to 13 days last year. North to West congestion occurred on 1 day, compared to 3 last year.  North to South congestion was recorded on 28 days.
  • Significant system events were recorded on three days in May: a high-voltage event at a 345-kV substation, a loss of a 345-kV bus, and loss of a 345-kV line during a storm
  • The load forecast performance error for mid-term load forecast was 3.01 for May.  The error for 2008 year-to-date is 3.13, compared to 3.55 in 2007, 3.79 in 2006 and 4.56 in 2005.    

The Market Operations Report highlights included:

  • Retail switching activity lower than last year.
  • One new retail electric provider was qualified last month – The Royal Bank of Scotland; two were deleted – National Power and Pre-Buy Electric
  • Three new energy schedulers were added: Luminant Energy Co. LLC, NRG Texas Wind, Invenergy McAdoo; three were deleted – Leach Energy, Pre-Buy, and National Power
  • May balancing energy price data showed a significant increase in natural gas prices
  • Market volume in May marked a 9.7 percent increase over last year
  • SAS 70 testing resulted in no exceptions for the period Oct. 1, 2007-April 30, 2008.  

The Information Technology Report included June performance metrics for net service availability for retail transaction processing, Texas Market Link, and MarkeTrak availability.  Retail transaction processing performance was below service level expectations for June. 

Board meeting documents are posted with the July meeting agenda on www.ercot.com

LEGISLATIVE PRESENTATION AVAILABLE ONLINE

Chief Operating Officer Trip Doggett presented testimony at a public hearing of the House Regulated Industries Committee June 23.  Doggett’s presentation is available on the ERCOT Web site in News/Reports and Presentations.  Topics covered included:

  • Causes of high wholesale market prices
  • ERCOT improvements to address congestion
  • Central Texas transmission projects to mitigate congestion
  • Status of Texas Nodal implementation.  

NEW PLANNING, OPERATIONS WEB SITE LAUNCHED

A new password-protected planning and operations Web site has been launched at http://planning.ercot.com, replacing the old operations and system planning data Web site. The new site is available through ERCOT’s public Web site in the “VIEW OTHER ERCOT WEBSITES” section.  All registered users of the old operations and system planning site will be required to re-register in order to access the new site.

The site requires registration for users since information behind the login may be considered critical energy infrastructure information which should be protected.  This site provides information in six categories:

  • Information and data for planning and modeling the power system
  • Information related to working group activities and non-public files related to meetings
  • ERCOT transmission grid map information in various formats
  • System planning studies and other planning activities
  • Procedures describing the generation interconnection process and the way various planning and operations system studies are performed in ERCOT
  • Reports that may be required or requested by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the Public Utility Commission, various ERCOT subcommittees, and working groups.  

NODAL PROGRAM LEADERSHIP CHANGE ANNOUNCED

Jerry Sullivan has left his position as executive director of the nodal program, CEO Bob Kahn announced today.   

"We appreciate Jerry’s investment of time and effort since he came on board in 2006,” Kahn said.  “He guided the nodal team through completion of several major milestones, most notably the successful test run of the real-time market June 25.  This was a key hurdle because it validated that ERCOT and the market participants have systems in place for nodal real-time operation.” 

Functions that have been reporting to Sullivan relating to nodal readiness management will continue to be led by Karen Lamoree, who is currently serving as project manager for ERCOT and nodal readiness.  The role of executive director and overall program spokesman will be filled by Ron Hinsley, ERCOT’s chief information officer and nodal executive sponsor. 

MARKET OPERATIONS VICE PRESIDENT LEAVING

Vice President and Chief of Market Operations Ray Giuliani is leaving ERCOT, effective Aug. 1, CEO Bob Kahn announced last week.   

“Ray’s leadership over market operations since 2002 covered a very critical period in ERCOT’s history,” Kahn said.  “When he arrived at ERCOT, the retail and settlement systems were having significant difficulties.  Under his leadership, those systems have completely turned around and are now operating very well.” 

Functions that have been reporting to Giuliani will report to COO Trip Doggett.

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

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