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How Does the Energy Grid in Texas Stay Reliable?

April 9, 2016
by dmirza

There are a lot of players in the deregulated energy market. There are generation facilities who generate electricity using coal, nuclear power, wind, solar, and natural gas, the retail electricity providers (REPs) who sell electricity, and the transmission and distribution utility (TDU) who distributes the electricity and maintains the power lines. There is also the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, who makes sure the electricity stays on and manages the grid for the three quarters of state, redirecting the flow to prevent outages and making sure the grid itself is reliable.

ERCOT has oversight over all parts of the grid, including 550 generation facilities and 43,000 miles of transmission lines. They also handle any settlements on behalf of customers regarding the reliability of electricity. ERCOT reports directly to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), and is operated as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation. It is run by a board of directors, and its members include Texas energy consumers, cooperatives, generation facility employees, REP employees, investor and municipality-owned utility providers as well.B20160408B

All of these people come together to ensure that consumers are able to get cheap electricity from a provider they trust and that their electric service will be reliable. There may be some hiccups along the way, such as a storm or other major incident knocking out power, but overall, ERCOT strives to make sure every customer gets the electricity they need, when it’s needed. We all expect that when we flip a light switch, the light will come on, and ERCOT helps make that happen for us every day.

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