Texas two-step proposed to protect winter power plants-NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Staff at the Texas Public Utility Commission on Monday night unveiled a plan for new rules designed to keep power flowing during winter storms.

PUC employees are proposing a two-phase plan to ensure that some new rules will apply for the upcoming winter season. More comprehensive weather conditions year-round would be implemented later in another phase when a comprehensive weather survey is completed by the Texas State Climatologist and ERCOT, which operates the Texas power grid.

Phase one of the proposed plan would require Texas power plant operators to address any “known, acute problems” that resulted in power outages last winter, including during the February winter storm that caused the Texans to freeze and even die inside. frigid home without electricity.

Power plants would also be required to implement winter weather preparations, recommended in a report known as the 2012 Quanta report, a study commissioned by state regulators after another winter storm caused disruptions in Texas in February 2011. While this report recommended changes nearly one in ten years ago, Texas did not implement any mandatory rules requiring power plants to take special steps to protect against cold weather.

But after the storm in 2021, the Texas legislature passed a series of bills that required the PUC and other government agencies to implement enforceable rules designed to prevent a future disaster.

In the PUC staff proposal published on Monday night, employees say the commission should not require natural gas-fired power plants to confirm that their gas supply has been winterized. PUC staff say gas problems are the Texas Railroad Commission’s area and that PUC will work with Railroad Commission staff to ensure that gas supplies to power plants are better protected. A recent analysis by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the power crisis in February showed that gas supply problems were the second leading cause of disruptions after frozen power plant equipment.

Texas PUC is scheduled to meet again later this week as commissioners continue to finalize the new rules, which are expected to be adopted by the commission in the next 60 days.

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