With a laser focus on Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) since the power failure in Texas nearly two weeks ago, questions surround the power provider. Just exactly what is ERCOT, how does it function and what is its coverage area?
ERCOT was founded in 1970 as an independent organization that oversees the electricity transmission of the power grid serving most of Texas. As the independent system operator since 1996, ERCOT has been the broker between competitive wholesale power buyers and sellers. ERCOT also provided the platform upon which Texas' electric utility industry made the transition to retail competition on Jan. 1, 2002.
Texas' main electric power grid is a network of more than 46,500 miles of long-distance high-voltage transmission lines and substations that carry bulk electricity to multiple utility companies for distribution to customers. This grid, which has 82,000-plus megawatts of available generation capacity, delivers approximately 90 percent of the electricity used by more than 26 million consumers in Texas.
The ERCOT region encompasses about 75 percent of the area in Texas, including the urban load centers of Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin, as well as most of West Texas, portions of the Panhandle and the Rio Grande Valley. It excludes the El Paso area, Northeast Texas (Longview, Marshall and Texarkana) and Southeast Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur and The Woodlands).
Lisa Brown has more than 30 years of experience in corporate communications and marketing management with organizations including Grubb & Ellis, Marcus & Millichap and NAIOP.
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