We’ve been hard at work prepping for the winter season. GVEC prepares for winter and summer operations conditions on an annual basis by performing equipment maintenance, vegetation management, mock emergency drills and by procuring the right amount of power to protect members from market price volatility. As winter draws nearer, I want to address and assure our members that grid reliability and preparation measures are being taken at both local and state levels.

GVEC

While our system performed well with no major structural damage or failures from the unprecedented weather we had with Winter Storm Uri, we have conducted a thorough review of our processes to identify any additional improvements or precautions we could make. We have made updates to strengthen our Emergency Operations Plan, performed distribution and transmission system audits, procured backup parts and equipment to have on hand for emergencies, and made changes to our outage detection and mapping system to keep customers informed with the most up-to-date information.

ERCOT and PUC

We are keeping a close eye on changes being made at state regulatory levels that will impact the energy industry and ultimately you, our members. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) have been meeting consistently to act in accordance with Senate Bill 3, which mandated the PUC to take a market-wide look at changes to improve grid reliability.

Changes being implemented include updating maintenance schedules to keep more generation available in critical grid conditions. There are also some market design changes in discussion that would move ERCOT away from a crisis-based model.

Market changes include raising minimum contingency levels for energy production to trigger scarcity pricing sooner, incentivizing generation resources to come online sooner before energy levels dip too low. This contingency level change would be coupled with lower scarcity price caps to protect customers from the prolonged high market prices experienced in February.

ERCOT is also working to implement a statewide emergency alert system to keep Texans notified of developing strained grid conditions that may result in rotating outages. The alerts will be issued by television, radio and other participating media outlets. As these changes evolve and solidify, we will keep you posted.

Update Your Information

Lastly, I want to strongly encourage all GVEC members to maintain up-to-date contact information on their accounts. Keeping email addresses and cellphone numbers current will ensure you receive email alerts  and notifications and are able to report outages via text message with our TextPower outage reporting system. If you aren’t sure this information is listed correctly on your GVEC account, we ask that you check and make updates either by visiting our SmartHub self-service customer portal on your desktop computer or by calling us at 800.223.4832.

I am always interested in your comments and feedback. Contact me by phone at 830.857.1152, by email at dschauer@gvec.org or by mail at P.O. Box 118, Gonzales, Texas 78629.

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