ERCOT says electric generation fleet ready for winter weather

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says it has completed on-site inspections of mandatory winterization efforts, and that the inspection results show the independently-owned electric generation fleet and electric transmission companies serving the ERCOT region are ready for winter weather. Inspections were completed at more than 300 electric generation units, representing 85% of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities.

Of 302 generation resources inspected, ERCOT says some generators had exceeded PUC winterization requirements. It says only ten generation resources inspected had items identified on the day of inspection requiring correction. For example, a generation unit may have needed a windscreen to be compliant, but it was not yet installed on the day of inspection. Many items like this have now been completed since the inspection occurred and all ten units are still operational. The ten generation units have a total capacity of 2,129 megawatts, representing about 1.7 percent of the total ERCOT generation fleet. 

Of the 22 transmission station facilities inspected, ERCOT found that six had potential identified deficiencies, most of which have already been corrected. These were generally minor items, such as cabinet heaters out of service or missing weather stripping on cabinet doors on the day of inspection. Most of these items have already been corrected.

"Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power," said Woody Rickerson, Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization, in a news release. "New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared."

A preliminary summary inspection report has been filed by ERCOT with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and will submit its final inspection report on January 18, 2022 for review and any potential enforcement action. Earlier this year the Legislature increased the maximum penalties for violating weatherization rules to $1,000,000 per day per violation.

ERCOT says it will conduct follow-up inspections on the generation and transmission facilities with potential identified issues. ERCOT says it and its contractors have spent more than 3,600 hours on these inspection-related activities to date. Additionally, ERCOT and PUC staff are actively monitoring the compliance plans of the generation resources that requested additional time to finalize compliance with the new winterization regulations.

While ERCOT does not own or operate any electric generation units or electric power lines, ERCOT says it is responsible for balancing electric supply and demand on an electric grid that serves more than 26 million Texans representing about 90% of the state’s electric demand.

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