News Release

December 16, 2009

ERCOT NEWS: Annual Membership, December Board Meetings

TOPICS:

New Directors Approved at ERCOT Annual Membership Meeting

The 2010 Board of Directors for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator and manager of the electric market for most of the state, was approved by the ERCOT membership at the 39th annual meeting Dec. 15. 

New board members include:

  • Calvin Crowder, American Electric Power, investor-owned utility segment (formerly an alternate)
  • Mark Dreyfus, Austin Energy, municipal segment
  • Jean Ryall, Constellation Energy, independent power marketer segment (formerly an alternate)
  • Marcie Zlotnik, StarTex Power, independent retail electric provider segment (formerly an alternate in 2008).

New alternates include Brandon Whittle, DB Energy Trading, independent power marketer segment; Scott Prochazka, CenterPoint Houston Electric, investor-owned utility segment; and Ray Schwertner, Garland Power & Light, municipal segment.

Interim CEO Trip Doggett introduced Sheri Sanders Givens who will replace Don Ballard as head of the Office of Public Utility Counsel on Dec. 21 and will then fill his ex-officio position on the board in the residential consumer segment.

ERCOT’s 16-member "hybrid" board includes five independent members; three consumer segment representatives (industrial, commercial and residential); the ERCOT CEO; the Public Utility Commission chairman (non-voting); and one representative from each of the six industry segments – investor-owned utilities (or transmission owners), municipally-owned utilities, cooperatives, generators, power marketers and retail electric providers.

The membership also approved amended bylaws

Doggett highlighted successes of the year, including the launch of the nodal single-entry model, start of nodal market connectivity trials, implementation of advanced metering settlement, an "unqualified" SAS 70 audit, and consistent reliability of the grid throughout the year.  He noted challenges for the year ahead include another tight financial forecast and the major event – to focus on preparations for the nodal market go-live in December.

Sen. Kirk Watson delivered the keynote address on "Preserving Texas' Energy Leadership."

Board Approves Protocol Revisions, 2010 Technical Advisory Committee

The ERCOT board approved six protocol revisions in a shortened afternoon session following the annual membership meeting in the morning. 

The Protocol Revision Requests (PRRs) and Nodal PRR (NPRR) included:

  • PRR 821: Update of Section 21, Process for Protocol Revision, with ERCOT edits;
  • PRR 824: Primary Frequency Response from Wind-powered Generation Resource;
  • PRR 827: Find Transaction and Find ESI ID (Electric Service Identifier) Functions on the Market Information System;
  • PRR 839: Revised Resource Category Generic Fuel Costs, with minor edits;
  • PRR 840: Update Trading Hub Conversion for 2010 Congestion Zones;
  • NPRR 196: Synchronization of Nodal Protocols with PRR 827.

The board voted unanimously to re-elect Jan Newton as chair and Michehl Gent as vice-chair for 2010 and also confirmed the Technical Advisory Committee representatives for 2010

In other votes, the board ratified the creation of a search subcommittee for the CEO position and an unaffiliated director, to replace Mark Armentrout whose last meeting was Tuesday, and approved an adjunct membership for Panda Energy International Inc. 

CEO, Staff Reports Presented

Interim CEO Trip Doggett reported in his CEO update on the successful implementation of wholesale settlement for advanced metering customers based on 15-minute intervals.  Almost 200,000 profiles have been converted to advanced metering, and as of Dec. 15, more than 130,000 accounts had been successfully settled using advanced metering data. 

Doggett also reported that the nodal project finished November approximately $1 million under budget and is expecting to return $10 million to the board’s nodal contingency fund. 

End-of-year projections for the overall budget remain tight, but he said he expects to end with a small favorable balance.

Other monthly staff reports included:

Nodal Program Update
Phase 3 of integration testing is on track for February 2010*; schedules for later phase have slipped but the nodal team is working on a mitigation plan.  The December 2010 "go-live" is still on track. 

Financial Report
Interim CFO Roy Bowman announced that ERCOT expects to recover $3.3 million in additional disbursements from the Reserve Fund, based on a 99 percent payout, anticipated as early as the first quarter of 2010.

Market Operations Report
Retail Activity Highlights:

  • Continued strong retail activity in 2009 compared to 2008.
  • Migration from native retail electric providers is healthy in all customer classes; residential load switched from an incumbent retail electric provider was at 51 percent at the end of October, the first time to surpass 50 percent.

Wholesale Activity Highlights:

  • Energy Services – Year-to-date total market volumes are lower in 2009 compared to 2008.  Natural gas prices remain very low.
  • Capacity Services – Prices for capacity services are significantly lower in 2009 compared to 2008 while volumes procured by ERCOT remain relatively stable.
  • Summary Balancing Energy Price Data – Prices continue to be significantly lower in 2009 compared to 2008.  Load zone price data (market clearing price for energy weighted by total zonal load) was $27 across all zones in November (from the Market Operations Report Supplement, slide 6); Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry T. Smitherman noted that the prices across all zones were beginning to converge with the lower prices from the West zone which have been typically lower for the last few years.
  • Congestion Management – Significantly more out-of-merit energy to resolve local congestion in 2009 compared to 2008 – primarily due to increased installed wind capacity and outages taken to maintain and improve the transmission system.
  • One new retail electric provider was added – Abacus Resources Energy, two new energy schedulers added – Abacus Resources Energy and Sempra Energy. 

Grid Operations and Planning Report

  • November peak demand of 36,840 megawatts (MW) occurred on Nov. 30.
  • System Planning is currently tracking 228 active generation interconnection requests totaling more than 78,000 MW.
  • Transmission projects approved in 2009 total $405.1 million.
  • All projects (in engineering, routing, licensing and construction) total approximately $9.5 billion.
  • Transmission Projects energized in 2009 total about $538.6 million. 

Information Technology Service Availability Metrics Report

Retail and Wholesale Systems Performance for November

  • Retail Transaction Processing – 100 percent
  • Texas Market Link (TML) – 100 percent
  • MarkeTrak – 99.81 percent
  • TML Report Explorer – 100 percent
  • Retail API – 100 percent
  • Wholesale Total – 100 percent

Market and Grid Control Systems Performance for November

  • Real-time balancing market – 100 percent
  • Frequency Control – 99.84 percent

All board meeting documents are available at this link.

* Update: The original release incorrectly stated the Phase 3 market trials date as May 2010 instead of February 2010.

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.

Contact

media@ercot.com

512-275-7432