Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

September 17, 2008

ERCOT News - Sept. 17, 2008


Hurricane Ike Outage Update

More than 1.4 million customers remain out of service in the ERCOT region Tuesday morning due to the impact of Hurricane Ike, according to estimates from transmission/distribution providers. 

High-voltage transmission lines remaining out of service has been reduced to 22, including 14 138-kilovolt (kV) lines and eight 69-kV lines.

About 2,150 megawatts (MW) of generation remain unavailable, representing eight generating plants (25 units total).  Generation capacity is not an issue at this time because of the significant load loss.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, ERCOT operators are continuing to work with transmission and distribution providers and generation resources in restoration efforts.  ERCOT has assisted Entergy Texas in the neighboring grid to the east of the ERCOT region.  On Monday, a block-load-transfer was established at Crosby to serve 15 MW of load for Entergy.  On Tuesday, an additional block-load-transfer was established in the Bryan-College Station area to serve 2.5 MW of additional load for Entergy.

Although there were some challenges managing transmission congestion in some areas, ERCOT market operations were not significantly affected.  Due to the low load levels, particularly in Houston, market clearing prices have been very low since the hurricane.

ERCOT Board Sends Constraints Issue Back to Stakeholder Committee

The Board of Directors remanded consideration of the 2009 commercially significant constraints (CSCs) back to the Technical Advisory Committee during Tuesday’s monthly meeting.  The board instructed the advisory stakeholder group to work with ERCOT staff to re-examine three options and return with a single recommendation for congestion zones, CSCs and the resulting closely related elements at the October board meeting.  The board is required by ERCOT Protocols to review the CSCs and congestion zone designations each year.

Other votes during the meeting included:

  • Endorsement of the Oncor Nacogdoches-to-Lufkin 345-kV project
  • Approval to apply the 2007 budget variance to fund up to 40 percent of spending on the Met Center replacement initiative and employ the remaining favorable 2007 variance to reduce debt funding of other 2008 projects, as recommended by the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee. 


CEO Bob Kahn reported that the Public Utility Commission had directed Executive Director Lane Lanford to engage ERCOT in a study to refresh the nodal market redesign cost-benefit-analysis completed several years ago.  Commission Chairman Barry T. Smitherman asked for the report to be completed in 60-90 days, and asked ERCOT to stand still on timeline development, but continue to work on all other aspects of the nodal program.  In light of the delayed go-live date for the nodal market, Kahn said ERCOT staff would file a motion with the Commission Tuesday to withdraw the fee increase request which was driven by an assumption that the nodal market would be fully functional by Dec. 1, 2008.   


Grid Operations Report

  • The peak demand of 61,080 MW exceeded the July 2007 peak, but was below the all-time actual peak of 62,339 MW and forecast 2008 peak of 63,702 MW
  • Day-ahead load forecast error for June was below 3 percent
  • Reduction in July zonal congestion from May and June levels
  • Hurricane Dolly on July 23 caused substantial damage in Brownsville; approximately 224,600 customers in the Rio Grande Valley area were without service the following morning 

Market Operations Report

  • July retail switches higher than in 2007
  • Energy Services continued higher volumes during summer 2008 compared to 2007– likely due to higher temperatures
  • Summary Balancing Energy Price Data & Total Load Data – natural gas prices down compared to June, but still significantly higher than 2007
  • ERCOT hub prices lower in July compared to June but still significantly higher than prices in 2007
  • Added two new Retail Electric Providers and deleted two
  • Added one new Qualified Scheduling Entity and deleted three 

System Planning Report

  • ERCOT is currently tracking 246 active generation interconnect requests totaling more than 105,000 MW; includes 52,000 MW of wind generation
  • 59 MW of new wind generation began commercial operations, bringing total installed wind capacity to 5,871 MW
  • Regional Planning is reviewing proposed transmission improvements with a total cost of $501 million
  • Transmission projects approved in 2008 to date total $217 million
  • All projects (in engineering, routing, licensing and construction) total $3.8 billion (no change from last month)
  • Transmission projects completed through July 2008 total $375 million (no change from last month) 

Nodal Update

  • Program Status
  • Recent Accomplishments
  • Integrated Schedule Status
  • Program Controls and Transparency
  • Staffing and Vendor Management
  • Protocol-Requirements Coverage
  • Common Information Model Status
  • ERCOT Staff / Market Participant Readiness
  • Cost 

Information Technology Board Report

  • Retail and Wholesale Systems Performance
  • Market and Grid Control Systems Performance 
  • Nodal Systems Performance 

Emergency Interruptible Load Service Results Announced

ERCOT announced results of the Emergency Interruptible Load Service (EILS) procurement for the October 2008 - January 2009 contract period:

Monday-Friday, 8 am-1 pm:

         MW procured:                                        272

         Resources:                                               35 (includes 25 aggregations)

         Average cost per MW per Hour:          $10.83

Monday-Friday, 1-5 pm:

         MW procured:                                        289

         Resources:                                                37 (includes 25 aggregations)

         Average cost per MW per Hour:          $11.28

Monday-Friday, 5-8 pm:

         MW procured:                                        291

         Resources:                                               35 (includes 23 aggregations)

         Average cost per MW per Hour:          $11.39

Non-Business Hours:

         MW procured:                                        273

         Resources:                                               33 (includes 21 aggregations)

         Average cost per MW per Hour:          $9.61

Total projected cost of EILS for this contract period is $8.2 million.  For the 2008 EILS program year (February-January), the total EILS cost is projected at $20.1 million.  The cost of EILS is capped at $50 million per year pursuant to PUC Substantive Rule §25.507(b)(3). 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 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 710+ 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.