Regulatory Updates by Region

ERCOT Regulatory Highlights: April 2017

This month…

  • Stakeholders continue to discuss the NPRR introduced to change the load participation limitations for Responsive Reserve Service (RRS).

  • The Emergency Response Service (ERS) proposed rule for adoption was approved by the PUC. 

  • The RMR rulemaking continues. Next steps include comments on a proposal for publication.

  • The Commissioners weighed in on the acquisition of Oncor by NextEra at the last open meeting.

  • ERCOT finalized its study on Multi-Interval Real-Time Markets and began scoping Real-Time Co-Optimization.

  • ERCOT Updated the Distributed Energy Resources Whitepaper.

  • The 85th Session of the Texas Legislature continues and committees are meeting regularly.

ERCOT and the PUC

NPRR to Revise the Limitation of Load Resources Providing Responsive Reserve Service (RRS)

Nodal Protocol Revision Request (NPRR) 815 would revise the current limit of 50 percent for Load Resources providing RRS.  As allowed in the current protocols, the amount Load Resources are allowed to provide RRS is capped at 50 percent.  ERCOT requires a minimum amount of RRS to provide Primary Frequency Response (PFR).  The new language would allow any amount over the PFR requirement to be provided by load.  The NPRR is being reviewed in the ERCOT Stakeholder process. 

PUC Rulemaking on Emergency Response Service

Project No. 45927 – Rulemaking Regarding Emergency Response Service (ERS) has a final ruling.  The latest PUC staff proposal included language that would allow ERCOT to use ERS to forestall or mitigate involuntary load curtailment in the event of actual or anticipated local transmission congestion. It also included language that would release ERS resources which are selected to provide Must Run Alternative (MRA) services to replace a RMR unit from their current contract at ERCOT.  The rule adopted by the PUC at the March 30 open meeting removes the ability to use ERS for local congestion.  Next steps will be the incorporation of the rules into the ERCOT Protocols.

Reliability Must Run (RMR) Issues

The PUC opened Project No. 46369 to consider changing the timeline for a Notice of Suspension of Operation/RMR review from 90 days to 180 days as well as reviewing the timing for when alternatives to an RMR agreement are considered.  After a workshop, and several iterations of comments, PUC staff released a proposed rule for publication and comment.  The proposed rule extends the required notice of suspension of operations from 90 to 150 days, with an RMR decision made within the first 60 days.  It also allows ERCOT to consider the economic value of lost load when deciding whether to consider an RMR or Must Run Alternative (MRA) contract, and each decision requires Board approval.  At the March 30 open meeting, the PUC approved the proposal for publication. 

PUC Consideration of NextEra Acquisition of Oncor

Oncor and NextEra Energy jointly filed for the regulatory approval of NextEra Energy’s acquisition of Oncor.  The initial filing was made on October 31, 2016, and the PUC has 180 days to rule on the transaction and determine if it is in the public interest.  A hearing was held February 21 – 23.  The deadline for decision is April 29, 2017.  At the March 30 open meeting, all three commissioners expressed that they did not believe that the acquisition was in the public interest.  A final order has not been released yet.

Real-Time Co-Optimization and Multi-Interval Real-Time Market

At the end of 2013, the PUC opened Project No. 41837 to investigate potential changes to the market.  ERCOT has finalized its study on Multi-Interval Real-Time Markets (MIRTM).  In the State of the Market Report, the IMM has also recommended moving to Real-Time Co-Optimization.  

On February 23, a final report on MIRTM was released by ERCOT   Among the findings, ERCOT indicates that on average, the MIRTM simulations did not indicate significant production cost savings for the operating days studied in 2015 and 2016. Considering the results of the limited analysis, ERCOT and stakeholders find that the MIRTM study demonstrates that the estimated cost are in excess of the measured benefits and therefore insufficient to support a recommendation to move forward with MIRTM at this time. TAC endorsed this recommendation in March.  There was discussion on Real-Time Co-optimization and WMS will help scope out what that study would look like.

ERCOT Updated the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Whitepaper

In March, ERCOT updated the DER whitepaper, specifically with regard to reliability.  As market participants continue to work on market integration issues, ERCOT wants to make sure there is visibility on the grid related to DER locations, impacts to load forecasts, and interactions. 

Texas Legislature

The 85th Session of the Texas Legislature began January 10, and ends 140 days later on May 29th.   As of this week, more than 6500 bills have been filed in the Texas Senate or House.  A number of electric industry bills have been filed.  Several bills related to infrastructure hardening and protection have been filed (SB 83, HB 407, HB 787, and HB 788).  There are also several bills related to Austin Energy in the House (HBs 1458, 1459, 1460, and 1461).  In addition, HB 1685/ SB 736 relates to the authority of the General Land Office to sell retail electric power, SB 735 is an electric omnibus bill for utilities and industrials, and HB 1475 creates criminal penalties for certain unauthorized REP switches.   Committee meetings are well underway at the Capitol, and the last day to file a new bill was March 10.  To date, SB 736 is the only bill of the above listed bills that has made it out of committee.  As a reminder, these bills must pass numerous steps including passage in House and Senate committees before being considered by each chamber.  

Upcoming ERCOT and PUC Meetings:

ERCOT Board Meeting – April 4

Wholesale Market Subcommittee – April 5

Reliability and Operations Subcommittee – April 6

Commercial Operations Subcommittee – April 12

Protocol Revision Subcommittee – April 13

Technical Advisory Committee – April 27

Retail Market Subcommittee – no April meeting

Public Utility Commission Open Meeting – April 13 and 28

All data provided in this report is intended for general information use only. Direct Energy does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of this data, nor does Direct Energy assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person or entity on this information.

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