Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

April 23, 2009

ERCOT News: April 22 Board Meeting Highlights

TOPICS:

  • Board Approves Six Protocol Revisions
  • Board Briefed on Nodal Progress, Risks
  • Staff Reports

BOARD APPROVES SIX PROTOCOL REVISIONS

The Board of Directors for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, grid operator for most of the state, approved six protocol revisions and reviewed nodal market progress at Wednesday’s regular board meeting. 

The Protocol Revision Requests (PRR) and Nodal PRR approved were:

  • PRR 768: "Transmission and Distribution Service Provider Energy Storage for Reliability;" submitted by American Electric Power; clarifies that energy from battery storage technology will be treated similarly as substation equipment and measurement not required for settlement; effective May 1.
  • PRR 789: "Removal of Grey Box Language Related to Lagged Dynamics Load Profiling Due to Unfunded Projects;" effective May 1;
  • PRR 790: "Load Profile ID Annual Validation Change Request;" allows for changes in the annual validation process timeline due to extreme events; effective May 1.
  • PRR 803: "Revised Implementation Approach for PRR 601;" changes the ramping period for balancing energy service deployment for base power schedule calculation and balancing energy power schedule from 10 minutes to 14 minutes; effective not later than six months; ERCOT may implement earlier than six months if all affected market participants have successfully tested the new ramping functionality.
  • PRR 804: "Revisions to Section 21 Appeal Process;" provides that if a motion to approve a protocol revision request fails, the revision request shall be deemed rejected by the body considering it and subject to appeal, unless at the same meeting that body votes to refer or to reconsider the revision request; effective May 1.
  • NPRR 149: "Change the Name of Emergency Electric Curtailment Plan to Energy Emergency Alert;" aligns ERCOT and NERC terminology to reduce confusion when communicating statuses or reporting on grid events; effective upon implementation of the nodal market.

The board also approved System Change Request 754: "Replace Email Delivery of Wind-powered Generation Resource Production Potential Forecasts."  The change provides a secure and programmatic means to supply the wind-powered generation resource energy schedulers with their forecasts through the zonal Extensible Markup Language.  Implementation is to be completed in less than three months.

BOARD BRIEFED ON NODAL PROGRESS, RISKS

Chief Technology Officer Mike Cleary presented an update on nodal progress and risks and reviewed the timeline of major deliverables and testing required before the 2010 launch date.  All of the 14 major milestones scheduled for March were completed as required.  Thirteen milestones are scheduled for April. 

Chief Financial Officer Steve Byone provided an update on the nodal financial management.  The board discussed how to record a $4 million year-end adjustment and recommended it become part of the overall $600 million budget, rather than taken out of the $59 million contingency funding.  The activities were budgeted but not properly reflected in the budget approved by the board in February.

STAFF REPORTS

In his monthly report, CEO Bob Kahn noted that Richard Morgan is serving as interim chief information officer while a search is being made for a permanent CIO.  Former CIO Ron Hinsley resigned March 5.  Morgan was previously working as a contractor at ERCOT.   

Kahn also noted that ERCOT staff was looking into opportunities related to the stimulus funds package and monitoring the Department of Energy actions concerning applications for smart grid projects.  He also said ERCOT staff was working on an analysis requested by Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman on the potential impact of climate change legislation on electricity prices.  Kahn said he hoped to have the complete report to the chairman by the first week of May. 

Other staff reports included: 

Market Operations Report

Retail Activity

  • Retail switching activity continues to be strong.
  • All customer groups show a higher migration away from the native affiliated retail electric provider, compared to last year, with 46 percent of residential customers (load) switched to a competitive retailer.
  • Transaction performance exceeded the 98 percent target in March for switches and move-in’s.

Wholesale Activity

  • February performance on settlements and billing dropped to 99 percent due to an XML formatting issue
  • Total market volume (energy) continued down in February. Down balancing energy continues at much higher levels than 2008 – primarily due to wind.
  • Balancing energy price data shows prices in February were at the lowest level in years.
  • Two new retail electric providers were added and one new qualified scheduling entity.
  • New graphs have been added to illustrate the number of REPs and QSEs registered in ERCOT, month-to-month, since January 2008.

Supplement - Market Operations Report

Compares January-March 2009 to 2008 for:

  • Total market volume in energy services
  • Natural gas price index
  • Balancing energy services volume and cost
  • Load zone price data (weighted average market clearing price for energy)  

Grid Operations and Planning Report
February 2009 Operations

  • The peak demand of 40,949 megawatts (MW) for the month of February was less than the long-term forecast of 45,543 MW for February.
  • Day-ahead load forecast error for February was 3.49 percent
  • Most zonal transmission congestion in February was West to North due to wind generation.  

Planning Activities

  • Tracking 262 active generation interconnect requests totaling over 105,000 MW; includes almost 50,000 MW of wind generation
  • Completed final reliability-must-run (RMR) determination on Luminant’s Notice of Suspension of Operations submission and selected Permian 5 and 6 for RMR contracts; will continue to look for other solutions during RMR contract negotiations.
  • 8,065 MW wind capacity on line as of March 31; no change since January
  • Regional Planning Group is reviewing proposed transmission improvements with a total estimated cost of $1,013 million
  • All transmission projects (in engineering, routing, licensing and construction) total $4.1 billion.  

Financial Summary Report

  • The application for approval of a revised nodal market implementation surcharge was filed with the Public Utility Commission March 31
  • Creation and initial staffing of the Nodal Financial Management Office under the CFO has been completed; on-going effort necessary to standardize processes and reporting practices
  • Operating revenues through March are four percent below budget; due to receipt of non-operating revenue associated with Texas Sales and Use tax refunds, no change in the System Administration fee is anticipated for 2009  

Information Technology Report

  • Retail Transaction Processing, MarkeTrak – March performance was 100 percent
  • Texas Market Link (TML) March performance was 99.88 percent
  • TML Report Explorer, Retail API – March performance levels were 99.8 and 99.92 percent respectively
  • Real Time Balancing Market and Frequency Control March performance was 100 percent 

Additional Information Online:

All board meeting documents are available at this link.

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.

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