Smart Shopping for Electric Power Just Got Easier in Houston

Michael Giberson CenterPoint Energy, the Houston-area electric distribution company, has launched MyTrueCost.com to help area retail electric customers shop for electric power. Help may be needed: currently 43 companies offer a total of 239 different service options in the CenterPoint service territory according to data from Powertochoose.org, the Texas PUC’s retail power website. The basic … More Smart Shopping for Electric Power Just Got Easier in Houston

Nest Learning Thermostat Featured in Reliant’s Learn & Conserve Plan

Michael Giberson The Nest smart thermostat made a bit of a splash when it was released (and countersplash from other energy equipment makers who said they offered similar features, and counter-countersplash from folks who said “sure, but not that worked so well for consumers,” etc., etc. We talked about Nest here, here, here and here.). … More Nest Learning Thermostat Featured in Reliant’s Learn & Conserve Plan

Hayek’s Knowledge Problem As an Issue in Electric Power Market Design

Michael Giberson Recently the Brattle Group submitted a study of resource adequacy issues within the ERCOT power system and the policy options available to ERCOT and the PUC of Texas, the regulatory authority overseeing the ERCOT system. As the Brattle report points out, ERCOT has so far stuck with a so-called “energy-only” market design while … More Hayek’s Knowledge Problem As an Issue in Electric Power Market Design

Competitive Power Market in Texas Faces Supply Concerns. Now What?

Michael Giberson The question troubling some folks in Texas’s competitive power market: Will Texas consumers want to consume more electric power than suppliers are able to supply? A resource adequacy review by ERCOT, the power system and market operator for most of the state, suggests that consumer demand may outstrip resources available as early as 2014. … More Competitive Power Market in Texas Faces Supply Concerns. Now What?

On Belief in the Possibility of Price Spikes

Michael Giberson Laylan Copelin, reporting for the Austin American-Statesman, documents the power system resource issues currently troubling state utility regulators in Texas: “State set to grapple again with question: How to encourage more private-sector power generation?” Texas suffered one rolling blackout last winter and narrowly avoided another this summer. The weather extremes might have exposed … More On Belief in the Possibility of Price Spikes

Texas Gaining Smart Grid Buzz

Michael Giberson Texas is becoming a recognized leader in smart grid development, and just wait, it is going to get better. One external bit of circumstantial evidence for this claim comes from a meeting last week at the White House hosted by Aneesh Chopra, Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology within the White … More Texas Gaining Smart Grid Buzz

Ercot Reliability Monitor Issues Report on the February 2 Rolling Blackouts

Michael Giberson The Texas Reliability Entity has issued its report on the ERCOT extreme cold weather events and rolling blackouts of February 2, 2011. Texas RE is the NERC regional entity for the ERCOT power system and contracted to the Public Utility Commission of Texas to serve as ERCOT reliability monitor for the state agency. In … More Ercot Reliability Monitor Issues Report on the February 2 Rolling Blackouts

Is the Deregulated Market in the Ercot Region Sufficiently Competitive?

Michael Giberson Two groups of municipal utilities in Texas, long critical of electric power deregulation in Texas and ERCOT in particular, have joined forces to issue a report, “The story of ERCOT: The grid operator, power market & prices under Texas electric deregulation.” The municipals describe the report as examining “governance issues related to ERCOT as … More Is the Deregulated Market in the Ercot Region Sufficiently Competitive?

Roundup of News and Commentary on the Texas Rolling Blackouts

Michael Giberson A collection of news and commentary on the February 2 rolling blackouts on the ERCOT grid in Texas. KVUE: After blackouts, PUC member seeks authority to fire ERCOT CEO WFAA: Public Utility Commission grills ERCOT top exec on rolling blackouts Associated Press: Railroad Commission questions industry performance WFAA: Quest for cheap fuel led … More Roundup of News and Commentary on the Texas Rolling Blackouts

More Cold for Texas and a Test of My Conjecture on Preparedness

Michael Giberson Last week the sharply colder temperatures wreaked havoc on many power generators in Texas, leading to emergency conditions and rolling blackouts on the ERCOT power system. In my preliminary reaction to the developments, I said: No doubt coal and gas-fueled generators across the state are reexamining their readiness for extreme coal weather. I … More More Cold for Texas and a Test of My Conjecture on Preparedness