PUC issues more rules for utilities preparing for extreme weather

Starting next year, power generators and transmission companies will have to consider temperature standards for ten different areas across Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas – Companies that generate and transport electricity in Texas must follow more rules as they prepare for temperature extremes.

Power generators and transmission equipment must consider certain minimum and maximum temperatures in their winter and summer preparations. Businesses must also consider and prepare for Windchill in their operations.

That Texas Electrical Reliability Council (ERCOT) will establish these temperature standards for ten different areas across the state.

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commissioners with Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) accepted the changes in a public session today.

This is due to the deadly winter storm of February 2021 that killed at least 246 people. Back then, ERCOT turned off electricity for millions because the power grid couldn’t handle the demand.

Natural gas supplies fell as wellheads froze, wind turbines stalled due to snow and ice accumulation, and power plant equipment failed in the extreme cold.

Temperatures stayed in the single digits for days.

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After the storm, the PUC urged companies to upgrade equipment to include winter weathering such as heat tracing, insulation and windbreaks.

The KVUE Defenders reported that many companies may still not be ready to deal with another extreme winter weather emergency.

PUC officers hired Ascenttra, Inc. to review and analyze nearly 700 Emergency Response Plans (EOP).

Submitted EOPs came from electric utilities, power generation companies, municipal utilities, electricity cooperatives and retail electricity providers.

RELATED: Your Electricity Provider May Still Not Be Ready for Another Extreme Weather Emergency

Ascenttra analyzed the information on a 10-point scale. The average score for EOP content was 7.33.

Only 23% of EOPs included drilling procedures with “sufficient detail”. the report showed.

The new rules approved by the PUC on Thursday will not take effect for this winter season. It begins for the summer of 2023 with weather contingency plans.

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/investigations/defenders/puc-adopts-rules-power-companies-prepping-extreme-weather-texas/269-781d20c8-c10c-4134-a64f-4e47eb995e49 PUC issues more rules for utilities preparing for extreme weather

Laura Coffey

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