Lubbock Power & Light prepares for needed legislative action before retail electric competition

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 8:12 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - At the top of the City of Lubbock’s newest legislative agenda is support for Lubbock Power & Light’s efforts to enter the retail electric competitive market. According to LP&L, it will need changes to state laws to ensure a smooth transition in the fall.

“We’re going to be the first municipal entity to make this move to the competitive market, since its inception in 1999,” LP&L Spokesperson Matt Rose said. “There are certainly small things here and there that were not anticipated, even though it was written in law that a city could make this move and make this voluntary transition. As Lubbock has gone through the process, we’ve seen that there are areas that were unanticipated that we need to make small changes.”

According to Rose, LP&L is preparing a legislative package that would make the necessary “tweaks” during the 88th Texas Legislature, which convenes in January, ahead of the expected Fall 2023 transition.

“When the session begins, we’ll work closely with our delegation and make sure that all of the legislation that we need to get passed gets passed in due course, in due time, so that we stay on schedule,” Rose said. “We’ll also be making sure that globally, any legislation that gets passed during this session does not adversely impact what we’re looking to do here in Lubbock.”

Rose told KCBD the changes to the law include the topics of consumer confidentiality within municipally-owned utilities.

“It makes perfect sense if you’re going to be a municipal organization, that serves all of your ratepayers, that all of the information necessary to serve those customers be held within the utility, but we’re making a transition so that customers can shop from providers across the state of Texas,” Rose said. “We have to make sure that we are able to provide the necessary information to ERCOT and to other entities, so that when that time comes and people choose, it can be a seamless interchange.”

Another necessary change deals with the Default Retail Electric Providers and Provider of Last Resort, which LP&L is currently in the process of choosing.

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“We need to make sure that we clean up language in the statute so that as we go forward, it’s clear that there will be a designated Provider of Last Resort and there’ll be a default provider,” Rose said. “We want to make sure that it’s clear in language, the differentiation of service, and that Lubbock Power & Light will truly be a wires company, and that those that provide customer service and billing to customers are in a separate bucket.”

Public Utility Commission and ERCOT leaders Tuesday spoke about grid reliability and its readiness for Winter, including the seasonal assessment and grid capacity reports that were released. The reports indicate, “sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve the system-wide forecasted peak demand for the upcoming winter season.” LP&L is also confident in the ERCOT grid over the upcoming months.

“We just went through the hottest summer on record, certainly the hottest July that we’ve ever seen here in Lubbock,” Rose said. “We went through all of that period without any sort of an issue with reliability, and that gives us confidence.”

To learn more about the transition to retail electric competition, click here.