Feb 17, 2021

ERCOT Update Press Conference on Texas Power Outages February 17

Ercot Update on Texas Power Outages
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsERCOT Update Press Conference on Texas Power Outages February 17

ERCOT executives Bill Magness and Dan Woodfin held an update Q&A session on the Texas energy blackouts after an unprecedented winter storm hit the state this week. Read the full transcript here.

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Bill Magness: (04:39)
… Terrible things we’ve seen this week. So there are many decisions that we’ve made that will be reviewed in great detail I think starting right away, obviously. And we’ll see how those all turn out, but I got to stand behind the grid operators who made a [inaudible 00:04:58] decision and have been working to resolve the challenges that the generation and the load on the grid have faced us with ever since.

Speaker 1: (05:09)
Okay, next question from KTRK in Houston. “What is the best case scenario for full restoration and what is the worst case timeline for full restoration?”

Dan Woodfin: (05:22)
So it’s really a function of, as Bill said, we kept the grid up and running so that we’re able to restore load back to consumers as quickly as possible. And it’s really at this point, it’s completely dependent on generators being back available so that they can power the additional load that we can then add back. And so, it’s really a matter of making sure that we’re balancing that supply and demand, and we’re trying to do that as quickly as possible.

Dan Woodfin: (06:01)
So as soon as the generator becomes available and becomes stable and turning people back on, telling the transmission operators, “We’ve got a 500 megawatt generator on line. Now we’re going to reduce the load curtailment by 500 megawatts. So go out and restore your share of that 500 megawatts.” And we’re trying to do that just as quickly as we can. So we’re really dependent on how long it’s going to take for those generators to be back online. And as well as kind of the outside limit on it is when the cold temperatures abate, we get back to moderate temperatures and the amount of generation.

Dan Woodfin: (06:50)
I guess the other thing that can happen is the amount of generation, even if the amount of generation stays what it is today. If the aggregate load on the system because of the. … We can turn more and more people back on, but each household is using less because of the milder temperatures, their heaters aren’t running, and so forth. We can actually turn everybody back on. And so, that’s kind of the outside limit is when the temperatures go well back above freezing and we think can match the load that way.

Dan Woodfin: (07:24)
Best case, the best case at this point is that it means today or tomorrow, we’re able to at least get back down to the point where all the consumers are experiencing outages that are no longer than say 30 minutes to an hour at a time. So we’re actually rotating through people. And so, they’re able to be turned back on for a while, and then another area is turned off and they’re turned back on. And I think that’s the best case. I don’t think it’s likely that we’re going to have enough available based on our forecast and the information that we’re getting in from the generators that we’re going to have everybody back on today or before at least the morning peak tomorrow.

Bill Magness: (08:08)
And I’d just add that the answer really depends on the availability of those generators. As Dan said, we’re working with them around the clock. Some of them are facing constraints in getting their generating units back online, but they are all working towards that. And if they all come on very quickly, we can restore load very quickly.

Speaker 1: (08:31)
Okay. Next question is from Energywire. “What does ERCOT say to critics who say you are not providing timely, transparent, or clear information to the public and public officials?”

Bill Magness: (08:46)
Well, we have endeavored to. Maybe we’ve failed there, but we have endeavored to do that. We put out notices beginning February 8th to the folks in the market. That is the generators who are on the ERCOT system, the transmission providers, all the other companies who we participate with, recognizing that we are going to see an extraordinary storm, recognizing that we’re going to see record load or demand on the system.

Bill Magness: (09:14)
We put out further notices on February 10th. We put out further notices on the 11th. And then on Saturday, we participated with the governor and other state officials in explaining the risk we saw at a press conference at the State Operations Center. And we’re coordinating with the State Operations Center as the governor stood it up to manage this disaster situation. In the meantime since then, we have endeavored as we have had to call the outages and then understood the extent of them to have media briefings like this, other availabilities with the press, with public officials, conducting briefings as requested with legislative or congressional leaders.

Bill Magness: (10:01)
So we’re making that effort to do that. If that has been insufficient, that’s on us, but we have really tried to communicate with those affected what we know in real-time and what changes are in store as we understand them.

Speaker 1: (10:24)
Next question. “We’re getting a lot of questions from viewers about ERCOT selling energy to other grids during this event. Please explain what’s going on?”

Dan Woodfin: (10:34)
Yeah, so we are not. I think that may have been a miscommunication. We are not selling ERCOT to other grids during this. It’s a matter of importing power from other grids into ERCOT to help serve load in ERCOT. We’ve tried to maximize that to the extent that power is available on the other grids and that they’re not having an emergency of their own because of this kind of unprecedented cold weather. So it’s not a matter of exporting. It’s a matter of importing help serve load here.

Speaker 1: (11:08)
Do you believe some generators intentionally went offline to avoid high fuel costs?

Bill Magness: (11:17)
I mean, we can’t speculate on people’s motivations in that way. We don’t own any generation. We don’t participate in the generation market. So we really have no way to speak to that, but we have no indication that everyone out there is not trying to get on and provide power to resolve this problem. That’s what we hear from the generators we’re talking to.

Speaker 1: (11:42)
Is the 46,000 megawatts of generation that has been forced offline during this event, is it the total now or is it over the duration of the event?

Dan Woodfin: (11:54)
So the 46,000 number is the amount that’s currently out, regardless of whether it was already out prior-

Dan Woodfin: (12:03)
That’s currently out, regardless of whether it was already out prior to the event because of gas restrictions or just [inaudible 00:12:08] there, some of that at any point in time, there’s some amount of generators, they are forced out needing repairs and those kinds of things. So there’s some of that. There’s the ones that were out due to gas restrictions on the system prior to the event. And then, I guess as of Sunday evening, we had some number that were forced out because of these gas restrictions. We had some number of that were forced out because of wind turbine blade icing. And so, we had some reduction in the wind turbine outputs. And so, we had those kinds of going into the event.

Dan Woodfin: (12:45)
And then in the morning of, starting at about 11:00 PM on Sunday night, that’s when we started seeing a massive amount of these generators tripping offline. And so, we’ve done this number since then, there was about a little over 10,000 megawatts that tripped off in a very short period of time, in a matter of an hour or two. And so, that’s really the thing that caused this to be a much more severe event than what we were expecting going into it, is just the outages of all those generators one after the other, as the storm came through with very cold temperatures, very high wind speeds and those kinds of things. And so, the 46,000 megawatt number include not only what was out ahead of time, but also what went out during the precipitating event of this storm. And so, it’s the amount as of right now.

Speaker 1: (13:45)
Are there any regulations requiring plant operators to winterize their plants, and what has the ERCOT done in terms of winter weatherization?

Dan Woodfin: (14:01)
Back in 2011, we had a large number of outages of generators in a cold spell that happened in February, of 2011. And after that event, there were lots of investigations trying to come up with what went wrong? What happened to these generators that caused them to go offline? And the generators shared information with each other on what were those things and developed a set of best practices, not only for the generators here in ERCOT, but national.

Dan Woodfin: (14:37)
And so, that set of best practices has been shared with all generators, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which is the standard setting body for reliability associated with the electric power industry. They adopted a lot of these best practices into a guideline for generators. And so, generators used that to then produce weatherization plans. The ones here at ERCOT at least are followed with the Public Utility Commission. And ERCOT voluntarily goes out and does spot checks for about a 100 or so, out of the 600 units in ERCOT. We go out and do spot checks to help them disseminate these best practices and make sure that they’re implementing.

Dan Woodfin: (15:26)
And so, what we saw between 2011, we had a similar cold spell to 2011 in 2018. It was similarly cold, similarly windy, and we had very few generating units trip offline. And so, it appeared that those best practices and what the generators were doing in that regard was working, but as this even more extreme cold weather event that happened in the last few days occurred and apparently, those were not sufficient to keep these generators online. And I guess the other piece of the question was, that those are not mandatory. It’s the voluntary guidelines for these individual generation companies to decide to do those things. And they have financial incentive to be able to participate in the market to follow those and stay online, but there’s no regulations at this point.

Speaker 1: (16:24)
Do you have an estimate of what percentage of those generators were winterized and able to stay online throughout this crisis?

Dan Woodfin: (16:36)
Yeah, so I think the installed capacity… Okay, if you count the wind generation at the full installed capacity, it’s around 40% of the generation that went offline. And we’ll have to dig into those numbers more precisely to count what went offline at one point, came back on, those kinds of things. But at this point, it looks like about 40% are out, and 60% stayed on, looking at those installed capacity.

Speaker 1: (17:09)
Okay, next question. How can you best serve Texans with a board share that lives in another state?

Bill Magness: (17:21)
I guess, right now, the way we can best serve Texans is to focus on getting generation and load and balance on working with our control room operators and other staff with the generators, to get power back on for everyone. That’s a priority right now. And I think if folks want to look at how ERCOT is run and who runs it, I mean, that obviously is part of the investigation of what we’re doing in the future. All those things are on the table, but I think there was no impact of the chair of the ERCOT board of directors on the weather or on the decisions we had to make to avoid a catastrophic blackout.

Speaker 1: (18:04)
The next question from the Austin American Statesman. Governor Abbott has cited wind and solar energy, saying that this is how the Green New Deal could be the deadly deal for the U.S. Can you please explain whether wind and solar energy have contributed to the issue and by how much?

Dan Woodfin: (18:28)
I mean, it’s really difficult to say how much it contributes to the issue. I will say that we had generating units that every time, that had for different reasons, went offline during this event, so that 46,000 megawatt number is coal units, nuclear units, gas units, wind turbines, and their reductions, even in solar. So in different ways, but very cold weather and snow, and those kinds of things has impacted every type of generator. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (19:08)
Okay. We’re getting questions again for some repeated statistics. Out of what is off? What is thermal? And what is renewable? So I’ll repeat those again. We currently have 46,000 megawatts of forced generation out on the system. 185 generating units that have tripped, and some of those have tripped more than once. Out of that 46,000, 28,000 megawatts of that is thermal, and 18,000 megawatts of that is renewable.

Speaker 1: (19:47)
And part two of that question, Dan, is if you could give some examples of what is causing these units to be forced out.

Dan Woodfin: (19:57)
I mean, I’ll try to talk about different types. We’ve had some reduction in the solar because like today, at least earlier today, there was am ice storm going with clouds that were over the primary region where the solar plants are. Those have passed on and the solar has picked up. But that reduction in output is that for solar.

Dan Woodfin: (20:22)
For wind, we talked about earlier already, that there were a number of wind turbines, in fact about half the fleet, they were forced out due to icing on the blade. So those wind turbines has had to be taken offline to keep from the catastrophic damage to the wind turbine.

Dan Woodfin: (20:42)
For the coal and nuclear units and some of the gas units, the part one reason that they have been out, and we don’t know all of the details yet, but there’s some limited reporting into the control room on why a unit is out, but we’re going to have to investigate more all of those to dig into the details of it. But once we get people’s power back on, then we’ll start doing those investigations. But certainly, things like instrument air, instrument lines that are used as part of the protection system for the plants froze up during the severe cold weather. And so, those things took plants all along. It’s just various things that froze up because of the cold weather.

Dan Woodfin: (21:29)
And then, the other thing for gas generation is there’s, some issue on the natural gas system as a whole, that you’ve got freeze offs in the wellheads. They’re cold so that you are not getting gas out of the ground into the pipeline system that then have to have enough gas to then compress to be used for electric generation and heating people’s homes and those kinds of things. And so, there’s kind of an issue there as well.

Dan Woodfin: (22:04)
And so, it’s a variety of things that go back to just the kind of phenomenal level of cold that we saw this week and the way it’s being sustained. And I guess one more thing that I forgot about is that that today, we’ve seen at least one place where there was inability… One generator was offline because of water, being able to get water into the plant because of the icy roads. And so, that’s one that’s an ongoing issue right now.

Speaker 1: (22:38)
Okay. Question. Are restored homes actually keeping the power on or is it temporary? If it comes on and off twice, is that counted as two restorations? Why did people get one minute of power and then go dark for hours?

Dan Woodfin: (22:58)
And so, I don’t know. We’d have to look at the specifics of that. I think it’s entirely possible that, as I mentioned earlier, we’re trying to balance generation and supply. So as generators go off line or as load increases, because it gets colder again or something like that, we’ve got to keep that balanced. And so, just like we did last night, we may be able to reduce the overall aggregate amount of generation of lows that’s curtailed. And then we may have to increase it back up. Well, how that then reflects out to individual consumers is a function of what the transmission owners, how they meet that overall reduction.

Dan Woodfin: (23:40)
And so, they may turn the areas off. And if in turns to be able to turn them back on for some period of time and then turn it back off, if it’s just a minute, it’s probably not that. I think there are also outages due to ice on trees as they’re getting into power lines, which has nothing to do with the issues that we’ve been talking-

Dan Woodfin: (24:03)
And they’re getting into power lines, which has nothing to do with the issues that we’ve been talking about, but may have the same effect on the individual consumers that their power’s out.

Bill Magness: (24:10)
And whenever we have been able to do it and keep the grid stable, we’ve tried to restore megawatts because restoring megawatts translates into the Encores, CenterPoints, South Synergy’s being able to offer more power into people’s homes and businesses. So whenever we’ve had that opportunity as this has evolved, we’ve done that. Now, knowing that it may go off if the system destabilizes, and we’ve seen some of those instances where, and Dan described some, where we have reduced the number of megawatts needed to maintain the outages we need for bridge stability, and had to go back and get some additional load. It really is impossible for us to know how that translates into individual homes.

Bill Magness: (24:56)
But as Dan says, the transmission utilities who manage the outage plans are really working hard to allow that restoration. And even if someone isn’t permanently on, to get some heat in their home, to get some relief from such a long period of outages. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do. And I think our counting is going to be counting those megawatts we need… Or those megawatts that need to be on outage to maintain system stability. So I don’t really think there’s a double counting, which I kind of heard in the question, because we’re going to be at 18,000, we’re going to be at 17,000. We’re now at 13,000. Hopefully, we’re going to go all the way down to zero. But it’s not like we’re saying we’ve done one of them twice, if that hopefully makes sense.

Speaker 1: (25:48)
Okay. Next question from NBC in Dallas. In September, your seasonal weather assessment said, “At this time, our assessment showed there will be adequate generation for winter.” How do you respond to that now?

Dan Woodfin: (26:05)
Yeah, so the seasonal assessment of resource adequacy looks at what our forecasted peak demand based on kind of a 50/50 weather would be. And then it looks at the expected amount of generating units that would be available during a cold event, like a typical cold event during the winter, and how much wind generation would be blowing during that cold winter event. And so there’s that kind of thing. It also has other scenarios of what if we had 2011… We mentioned earlier that 2011 was kind of our most severe winter in terms of how cold it got and whatever in history, recent history at least. And so we look at what would the demand be for that 2011-type weather, including economic growth and those kinds of things that have happened. And then it also looks at what are kind of the 95th percentile of all the outages that typically would… Well, it’s not typical. It’s the 95th percentile of the outages that occur during a winter peak type condition.

Dan Woodfin: (27:15)
And what if there was much less wind on the system? And so it looks at different scenarios. That’s the basis of that assessment. We’ve done some preliminary comparison upfront. And if you look at the load, if we had had weather like 2011 this year, so that extreme load case, the amount of load that we saw on Sunday night before we instituted the rotating outages was several thousand megawatts higher than that 2011-type weather, even in taking into account load growth, economic growth that’s happened since 2011. And so we’re well beyond anything that was in… The conditions on the system due to this kind of extreme cold weather event are well beyond even our 2011-type case of note for extreme conditions.

Speaker 1: (28:19)
Okay. You keep saying that you’re working around the clock with generators. Can you explain what that looks like?

Bill Magness: (28:29)
In the control room in particular, generators are in constant communication with the ERCOT operators. Because as they come on to the system or come off the system, they have to let us know, and they’re obligated to let us know if they’re generating on the ERCOT system. So our operators are speaking to representatives of generation all day, all night. It’s a 24/7 shift. And getting updates from them on the issues they’re having, particularly those who are still off the system. For example, Dan mentioned one generator told us I guess this morning or last night about this issue with transporting water that’s needed to run the plant, and the difficulty they were having with the transportation issue.

Bill Magness: (29:11)
And we’re also outside the control room talking to representatives of generation who are running into various issues that if we can help them with, or if the State Operation Center can help them with, we’re trying to facilitate whatever help they need to do the things they need to do to get their generation units back on the system. So it’s different communications paths, but the most direct one is with our operators, which goes on every day, all year long.

Dan Woodfin: (29:38)
And I guess another thing I think that may answer this question, to supplement it, is that the generators through our computer systems are telling us how much, for future hours, for the next week, how much generation they expect to have, which generators they expect to be available. If there’s a unit that’s currently on outage, when do they expect it to be available? How many megawatts they’re expecting to be able to provide. Is it their full output, or is it de-rated? All of that kind of information, they’re providing that into our computer systems all the time and keeping it up… They’re required to keep it updated. And so that’s another way that they’re providing information to us and coordinating with us. Part of the problem there though is that that’s their expectation based on what they know. And they don’t necessarily know how quickly they’re going to be able to get back. It’s their best-case estimate, best-guess estimate, but there’s some uncertainty even in their minds is what they’re telling us.

Speaker 1: (30:43)
Okay. Question from ABC 13 in Houston. The decision Monday at 1:00 AM may have been the right one, but what about decisions that should have been made months or years earlier? Why hasn’t ERCOT mandated more winterization that would have prevented this?

Dan Woodfin: (31:05)
Yeah. So, sorry. I guess the role of ERCOT is not necessarily to mandate those kinds of things. There was some discussion about that back when, and there’s been discussion since then. Because other regions of the country have had a similar issue. And the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the standard-setting body for the electric utility industry that is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is looking at winterization standards. They’ve been looking at them. There’s drafts out there right now. They incorporate in many of the things that are incorporated into the best practice, as generators are already doing, but there is that standard that’s under consideration right now. It’s just not mandatory yet.

Bill Magness: (32:02)
Yeah. We take the acts of regulatory agencies like the NAERC, as Dan’s saying, to implement enforceable standards. So that’s where I think we’ll see that.

Speaker 1: (32:17)
Okay. Can you explain again why the rotating outages were not able to be shared equally?

Bill Magness: (32:30)
When rotating outages take place, typically there’ll be an amount of megawatts, like we keep talking about, that needs to be… The demand needs to be lowered by that amount of megawatt, so that supply and demand can balance. So say it’s 1,000 megawatts, we will communicate to the transmission providers, the Encores, CenterPoints, AEPs, et cetera, who are the ones who make the plans for how to execute that request from ERCOT. So we coordinate with them and say, “Here is your share that we need in your region to get on this.” And usually, it is of an amount that it can be moved around their territory. You can have it here for awhile and then let those circuits off and put it somewhere else.

Bill Magness: (33:18)
The challenge that those transmission providers have faced with this event is because it’s been so extensive and the outages required to maintain system stability while we have so much generation off the system have been such that when you give such a large obligation to these transmission utilities, it’s difficult for them to move them, to have them in one place but not the other. Just because of the quantity of the megawatts that are needed to be reduced, and their need to serve critical care facilities that aren’t subject to rotating outages. And so it has inhibited their ability to move them into different parts of their territory, which has made it obviously so much more difficult for customers who have had to be maintained in an outage state all this time.

Speaker 1: (34:07)
Next question. What source of energy is creating the biggest issue for you, wind or coal or natural gas?

Bill Magness: (34:17)
Well, the issue for us right now, with the priority being to get customers back in service, is to get the generators… We can’t get the generators to do this. But the generators working to get their generation units back online. And those generation units that came offline in the extraordinary weather were of all types. So we’re really just seeing the impacts of this weather event go across wind, solar, coal, nuclear, gas, across the industry, and working with those folks, whatever fuel they use, whatever type they are, to get back on so we can get the power on for folks.

Speaker 1: (35:07)
Did you do inspections for weatherizations this year due to COVID?

Dan Woodfin: (35:16)
I’m not sure exactly what you asked. You cut out for a minute. [crosstalk 00:35:21]. So typically, we do these… They’re not really inspections. They’re more spot checks to help the generators make sure that they’re actually following these winterization plans that they’re supposed to file, making sure that they really are doing the best practices. We typically do about 100 units a year out of the 600 or so. This year, rather than going onsite, we did them, but we did 94 of them. And we did them virtually. And we’re able to walk through kind of making sure that people were doing what they needed to do that way. So that was how we implemented it this year.

Speaker 1: (36:02)
Okay. Prior to…

Dan Woodfin: (36:03)
[inaudible 00:36:00] this year.

Speaker 1: (36:03)
Okay. Prior to this winter weather event, exactly how many megawatts were on outage in comparison to the 46,000 that has been forced off?

Dan Woodfin: (36:16)
I’m sorry. I don’t have the answer to that one in front of me.

Bill Magness: (36:22)
We can get it to you. It wasn’t a number anywhere approaching 46,000, because generation that might have been on a voluntary outage came back to serve because they saw that we were going to have this enormous demand, and there were units that said, “Well, I’m going to postpone my maintenance. I’m going to come back and do this instead.” And so we really didn’t see a very large number going into this week of planned outages as opposed to forced outages. But we can look that up and Leslie can transmit it.

Speaker 1: (36:59)
You keep pointing to how cold it was then how that affected the generation. There are wind turbines and generators and much colder climates that seem to be able to winterize. You knew this was coming. At what point do recommendations to winterize become mandatory? If they don’t, do you think they should be?

Dan Woodfin: (37:22)
So once again, I guess there’s two questions. One is, why don’t the generators here have the same level of protection against winter that are in ones in the northern part of the US. And it varies. For wind turbines, for example, there are things that, the packages that you can buy for those to, to some extent, protect against colder weather. Typically, when generators are making those investment decisions, we have such infrequent cold weather to the level that would require those, that not all of them buy those packages. That’s one issue.

Dan Woodfin: (38:07)
For the kind of thermal generators, the gas, coal nuclear plant, in the northern part of the US, those facilities are typically in a building. So that provides wind block. It keeps the generators warm, and those kind of things, which is really helpful during this kind of winter conditions. I mean, that’s why they don’t trip during the winter and kind of northern clime. Here, our peak demands and primary need, most of our generation is during the summer, because all the air conditioning consumption on the system.

Dan Woodfin: (38:44)
Typically, we have much higher peak demands during the summer than in the winter. And if you put a generator, a thermal generator in a building, you actually can’t get as much out of that generator. It can’t produce as much because it gets hotter in the building, because it’s constrained in. And so that’s why the people who own generators typically don’t build those as building theaters, because they’re wanting to maximize their output during the summer, which is when the system typically needs the most generation. And we typically need less during the winter on normal and even fairly extreme winter conditions, and so that’s really the reason. They’re trying to maximize their output during the summer. And they wouldn’t be able to do that if they put a building around it, historically.

Dan Woodfin: (39:34)
And I guess the next part of your question was about mandatory standards. And like I mentioned, the NAERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, is working on those standards, and this being the … [inaudible 00:39:47] the process, and this event, I suspect that those will definitely be promulgated soon.

Speaker 1: (39:53)
Okay. The next one, you didn’t really give us a range of dates when full service might be restored. When do you expect that to happen?

Bill Magness: (40:08)
Well, we’re unable to give a real specific because of the variables we’ve identified around the resources and the weather, but we’re optimistic. We brought it down from 20,000 to 13,000 in the past couple of days. We’re optimistic we’ll see some today, as we see some warming trends. And as Dan said earlier, get it down to a level where even if we’re not finished, at least you can see the rotation of the outages so that the people who’ve been out for so long will get some relief. And then if we get the generation back over the next 24 hours, into tomorrow, and the weather continues to moderate, I think that’s what’s going to drive the end of it. I mean, if the weather moderates and the generation comes on, it could move a lot more quickly than it has been moving so far, obviously, because that’s the key. And once that’s done, it’s just a matter of putting those customers back into service. So looking at the next couple of days, if those things break right, and we get the generation online and in the quantity we need to, we’re optimistic we can go through this.

Speaker 1: (41:20)
Okay. From Power Markets Today, would anything have been different this week with a capacity market?

Bill Magness: (41:30)
I don’t think a capacity market would have changed the weather. I don’t think the capacity market would have changed the extraordinary demand that Dan was just describing that we saw in the system. I think there is sufficient generation in Texas to handle the highest peaks we see in the summer. The all-time record we set in 2019, we had enough generation to meet that, and so I don’t think there is a capacity shortage. It was a problem with that capacity being knocked out by an extraordinary event, and also the impact that that same extraordinary event had on gas supplies, and obviously on load. So I’m sure people may argue about that once we’re done, but the priority right now is getting people in Texas back in service, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.

Speaker 1: (42:25)
Okay. We have about five minutes left, so I will try to get through a few more of these. Why are the power outages being borne mostly by CenterPoint customers? Go to oncor.com and you’ll see that only 18% of their customers are affected while almost 60% of CenterPoint customers are affected.

Dan Woodfin: (42:48)
I don’t think I can technically answer that question, because when we order, say, 1,000 megawatts of load to be shed, that is allocated out to each transmission owner by their ratio of the load on the system. So for example, Oncor, I remember this number, is 36% of the load on the ERCOT system. And so if we order 1,000 megawatts of load to be shed, Oncor should shed 360 megawatts, 36% of that low jet amount. And there’s a percentage like that for each of the transmission owners, and at least when we’re shedding the load, they’re supposed to shed the amount that is their load ratio share of that amount. And so it should be fairly distributed based on that share of the load across the entire ERCOT system.

Speaker 1: (43:47)
Okay. Are the 185 plants that have tripped offline since this event began mostly clustered in one geographic region, or are they spread out all over the state?

Dan Woodfin: (44:03)
They are spread out all over the state.

Speaker 1: (44:12)
Okay. I’m seeing a lot of repetitive questions. So let’s see. A consultant report last month said ERCOT is the only North American system without an adequate reliability standard or reserve margin requirements. Why not? Seems like we needed more reserves.

Bill Magness: (44:33)
You know, today what we have to do is get people’s power back on. I think debates about electric policy and energy policy are going to come very soon, as this issue is detected, and discussed, and analyzed, so we can avoid something like this again. But I’m not familiar with the report, and really today, what we’re here to do is get the power up and let people know what’s going on with this emergency.

Speaker 1: (45:00)
Okay. I think, Bill, I’ll give you this as our final question. The governor has lost confidence in your leadership. People across the state have lost confidence in ERCOT. Why should we trust you to lead us out of this crisis?

Bill Magness: (45:16)
The people who folks in Texas really need to trust to lead us out of this crisis are those operators who are working on 24/7 shifts to make decisions that will keep the system safe. That’s their fundamental job. That’s what we’re trying to encourage them to do, and to keep their heads down and focused on the task at hand, and the blame can be assessed very soon. Blame will surely be assessed, but this team that has been protecting the grid from a worse, even though this one has been so bad, a much worse situation, are really the key people who will lead us out, and who have saved us from those sorts of very bad blackout situations in the past. So that’s where my confidence is, and I’m sure we’ll work out the rest once we get the power back on.

Speaker 1: (46:06)
Okay. Thank you, Bill. I want to thank everyone for joining us today. We’re trying to provide as much information as quickly as possible, and we’ll continue to provide more updates throughout the day. It is possible we will host another media call this afternoon, and if that occurs, then I will issue another media advisory. And at this time we will go ahead and conclude today’s call. Thank you.

Bill Magness: (46:33)
Thank you.