ERCOT reports that 321 of 324 electric generation units and transmission facilities had fully passed their inspections for new winterization regulations.


Texas power generation companies and electric transmission operators have passed inspections and they appear mostly ready for winter service, according to the state’s primary grid operator.

ERCOT, also known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, reports that more than 300 generation units—or about 85% of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri—as well as 22 transmission facilities have undergone weatherization inspections.  ERCOT reports it uncovered a number of relatively minor problems during those inspections, and that power companies have since corrected many of them.

“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 December 30 release.  “New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements, and our inspections confirm they are prepared.”

Of the 302 generation resources inspected, ten had items identified on the day of inspection that required correction.  Those ten 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 identified six with potential deficiencies.  ERCOT said most were minor items, such as cabinet heaters out of service or missing weather stripping on cabinet doors.  Most of these items have already been corrected, according to ERCOT.

In a January 18 update, ERCOT reported that 321 of 324 electric generation units and transmission facilities had fully passed their inspections for the PUC’s new winterization regulations.  The PUC can follow up with potential enforcement action against non-compliant units—up to $1 million in fines per day per violation, according to recently enacted legislation.

ERCOT also reports that its employees and contractors have spent more than 3,600 hours on these inspection-related activities.

Continuing Problems with Gas Suppliers

However, some reports suggest continuing issues with gas suppliers—a potential problem because experts have identified such issues as major contributing factors to last February’s outages.

According to estimates from Bloomberg and other industry analysts, Texas gas production dropped by around 20% during a cold front in early January.  According to a National Public Radio report, that decline was the largest supply drop since February’s winter storm.  The reason, according to documents filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and reported by NPR, includes equipment breaking down in the freezing temperatures.

You can read the NPR report here.

— R.A. Dyer