PUC authorizes ERCOT to study adding Lubbock to power grid
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) –
The Public Utility Commission today authorized the Electric Reliability Council of Texas known as ERCOT, the power grid that that serves 90% of Texas, to explore a relationship with the city of Lubbock.
In a brief discussion at its meeting in Austin today PUC commissioners said they had been asked by the city of Lubbock to allow ERCOT to move forward with a study. The commissioners approved that move without objection.
That study, KCBD has learned from Mayor Glen Robertson, will examine the feasibility of integrating Lubbock into the ERCOT power grid.
Robertson has also confirmed to KCBD that he and other LP&L officials did speak with PUC officials asking to exploring the possibility of joining the ERCOT system.
The decision by the PUC Thursday morning precedes a scheduled meeting this afternoon of LP&L’s Electric Utility Board. The agenda for that meeting includes the following item: “Discuss and deliberate proposals and strategies related to plans, studies, and analysis for system improvements, generation additions, or sales.”
Today’s meeting will be the first time the EUB has discussed in open session its plans for future power generation. LP&L’s contract with Xcel Electric expires in 2019.
ERCOT, based out of Austin, is a non-profit corporation. ERCOT is not a power company. It is the entity that schedules power on an electric grid connecting more than 43,000 miles of transmission lines.
Those transmission lines join over 550 power generators and consumers of electricity, like LP&L, across the state.
Today Lubbock is not a part of that electric grid, although several counties surrounding Lubbock are.
Instead, Lubbock is a member of the Southwest Power Pool. And this limits it’s ability to purchase power to only two companies, Xcel and Golden Spread, but with today’s PUC decision that could soon change.
Joining ERCOT would give LP&L, as a wholesale power purchaser, more options. More options for LP&L, Robertson believes, will result in lower prices for the consumer.