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Texas Power Generators Are Ready for Winter Weather: ERCOT

ERCOT says its preliminary inspection of winterization efforts suggests good news for electricity reliability

The board that oversees ERCOT held an urgent meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the winter storm that crippled most of Texas last week. They offered apologies for the devastation the power outages have caused and pledged to gather the facts to help lawmakers determine how to prevent it from ever happening again.
NBC 5 News

While North Texans prepare for the coldest temperatures of the season, Texas electricity regulators say the power grid is ready for winter weather.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Thursday it has completed on-site winterization inspections of more than 300 electric generation units. That number represents 85% of the megawatt hours lost during February's winter storm.

"Inspection results show the independently-owned electric generation fleet and electric transmission companies serving the ERCOT region are ready for winter weather," a news release said.

The state's power generators and electric transmission companies are now required by the Texas Legislature to winterize and prepare for extreme weather.

"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. "New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared."

ERCOT says its preliminary inspection report shows some generators had exceeded winterization requirements set by the Public Utilities Commission. Ten generation resources inspected had items identified on the day of inspection requiring correction, but "many items like this have now been completed since the inspection occurred and all ten units are still operational," ERCOT said.

The ten generation units have a total capacity of 2,129 megawatts, representing about 1.7% 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," ERCOT said. "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."

The regulation mandating winterization comes after an extreme winter storm in February covered much of the state in snow and ice and knocked out power to millions for several days. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported a total of 210 deaths were linked to the winter storm.

Daily fines of $1 million can be levied against companies that do not comply with the winterization mandates.

ERCOT says it will conduct follow-up inspections on the facilities that had potential issues. A final inspection report will be submitted to the PUC on Jan. 18.

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