‘A life and death matter’: Texas counties, cities sound off on electric market changes

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Contributed date

January 5, 2022 - 7:15pm

Critical Commentary

Local governments (Travis County, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Lewisville, Mesquite, and Plano) collectively generated and put forth ideas and suggestions to the Public Utility Commission of Texas on how to make the grid more reliable, following the 2021 winter storm Uri and the blackouts and devastation it caused. They stressed that these changes are not mere niceties, but rather essential modifications to the state's current electric utility infrastructure that will protect lives and save billions in damages.

Their suggestions included:

  • Increasing demand response and energy efficiency programs
  • diversifying Texas' energy resource mix to improve grid resilience and stability
  • creating smaller circuits of electricity on the grid, including the ability to isolate essential infrastructures (like hospitals, communications infrastructure, etc.), to make it easier to shift outages more frequently and equitably
  • consider connecting the ERCOT grid to adjacent grids to enable greater resilience
  • increase community engagement to ensure an inclusive and equitable market redesign process

However, despite this effort, the plans that the PUCT would eventually adopt a few days later on Thursday, December 15th focused on keeping extra fossil fuel resources online as backup generation.

Cite as

Avery Travis, "‘A life and death matter’: Texas counties, cities sound off on electric market changes", contributed by James Adams, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 1 June 2022, accessed 17 August 2022. https://energyrights.info/content/‘-life-and-death-matter’-texas-counties-cities-sound-electric-market-changes