Lubbock Power & Light will continue transition to ERCOT

Lubbock Power and Light announce Friday it will continue its move from the Southwest Power Pool to ERCOT – the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

"Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L) began the process to join the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in September of 2015. The decision to pursue integration in ERCOT was made due to benefits the ERCOT market could provide to our customers that could not be achieved if we were to remain in the Southwest Power Pool. Beyond the ability to provide an affordable and diverse energy portfolio, joining ERCOT would allow us to pursue bringing competitive retail electricity back to Lubbock.

"LP&L is on track to transfer approximately 70% of the electrical grid to the ERCOT market by June of this year. Like many across the state, we have serious concerns over the severe operational issues seen across the ERCOT market this week. The Southwest Power Pool was not without operational issues of its own and our citizens felt this when LP&L was required to perform controlled rotating outages two days this week. However, it is clear that moving forward, serious decisions must be made to fix the problems in the ERCOT market.

"We appreciate Governor Abbott, and the leaders in the Legislature making ERCOT an emergency item this Legislative session. The root causes of ERCOT’s operational issues need to be fully investigated and solutions must be found. Legislative hearings on this issue begin next week and will continue over the coming weeks and months. LP&L will track this process very carefully.

"We understand the concerns of the citizens of Lubbock after the events of this week. We share these concerns. The health and well-being of our customers is always at the forefront of all decision making," LP&L said in a statement.

The top official in charge of Texas's power grid said Thursday that the state had been just minutes away from a total grid failure early Monday morning when operators made the decision to cut the power and begin rolling blackouts across the state.

Bill Magness, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), told the Texas Tribune in an interview that the state's grid was "seconds and minutes" from potentially going down, adding that damages caused by the grid failure could have caused uncontrolled blackouts lasting for months.

“It needed to be addressed immediately," he said, according to the Tribune. “It was seconds and minutes [from possible failure] given the amount of generation that was coming off the system.”

Had grid operators not acted Monday to begin controlled blackouts that have affected millions across the state for days, Magness said, the damage caused by higher power demand than supply could have caused an “indeterminately long” crisis.

“The operators who took those actions to prevent a catastrophic blackout and much worse damage to our system, that was, I would say, the most difficult decision that had to be made throughout this whole event," he said.

Texas officials have clamored for answers after massive rolling blackouts across the state, leaving many without heat in freezing temperatures for days. At least 35 people have died so far as a result of the winter weather affecting Texas and much of the central and southern U.S.

"'Rolling' outages are not that. There must be systemic changes. This is happening every ten years and there’s got to be a better plan," tweeted Austin's mayor, Steve Adler (D), on Tuesday.

"The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has to explain how millions of Texans are without power," he added.

The state's governor, Greg Abbott (R), gave no timetable for full power restoration in the state during a press conference Thursday. He has also called on ERCOT's board to resign.

"ERCOT has not been transparent about this," Abbott said during a press conference Tuesday. "We, all of us, need answers and transparency from ERCOT to make sure that people get the answers they need. More importantly, get the power they need."

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