LP&L on the road to join ERCOT, will customers be left in the dark?
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As Lubbock Power and Light prepares to join the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, better known as ERCOT, their contract with Xcel Energy, part of the Southwest Power Pool, is that much closer to expiring.
But what does it mean for customers when that contract expires? And what happens if LP&L isn't ready to join the ERCOT grid by June 1 of 2019?
Matt Rose with LP&L says they have planned for the expiration of the contract with Xcel since the announcement in September of 2015, and he says the benefits of joining ERCOT outweigh staying connected to our current power system.
"ERCOT is a power market that is contained solely within the state of Texas, which means the rules and the regulations and everything that goes along with the ERCOT market…it's all decided right here in Texas," says Matt Rose, the Public Affairs and Government Relations Manager for LP&L.
Rose says there are several steps that need to take place before connecting with ERCOT.
"We are wrapping up what we would refer to as the 'study phase' of this project....the three independent studies that are being conducted are slated to finish and be submitted to the P.U.C. by the end of the second quarter of 2017," Rose says.
After studies are submitted, the Public Utility Commission of Texas must officially approve the transition. Then LP&L will determine which company will build the connecting lines to join with ERCOT.
But Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope says he's not too worried about approval by the P.U.C.
"Our local legislative delegation, Senator Perry, Representatives Frullo and Burrows, have recently written a letter of support to the Public Utility Commission. The Texas Tech system wrote a letter of support that was mailed last week to the Public Utility Commission. That's important, they're LP&L's largest client, and they are the largest employer in this part of the world – and they're supportive of this strategy," Pope says.
Rose says once connected to ERCOT this region will reap a specific benefit.
"Really most importantly, for us here in this region, it would finally allow us to have access to all of this wind energy that we've seen going in around us," Rose says.
But what about costs for customers?
"If we are in a scenario where we can go out there, we can shop around the entire state of Texas for our power that we provide to our customers….we know that that's gonna give us an advantage and allow us to provide our customers with the lowest possible rates….hopefully – and we think probably, lower than they are today," Rose says.
Mayor Pope says in addition to being confident in the P.U.C.'s approval, he's also not worried about the June 1, 2019 deadline.
"Have no fear, we will have a transition contract in place," Pope says.
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