Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L) has officially notified the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) of its intention to join the retail competitive electric market in fall 2023.
As required, the notice comes at least 12 months before the scheduled launch of a competitive electric environment in Lubbock.
Lubbock is poised to be the first city in Texas to voluntarily shift to a customer choice model since Senate Bill 7 established the competitive retail market in 1999.
Senate Bill 7 required all private investor-owned utilities in ERCOT to migrate customers to a system that allowed them to pick their own retail electric providers. Municipally owned utilities and member-owned electric cooperatives were exempt but could voluntarily opt-in through a vote of their governing bodies.
There are 72 cities in Texas that own electric utilities, of which Lubbock is the third largest system. To date, no city has voluntarily made this transition due to the complex nature of such a transition, LB&L said.
“Unlike nearly every other municipal electric utility in the ERCOT market, Lubbock is in a unique position and ideally situated to make this transition because it does not have long-term power agreements to unwind and holds low debt obligations on power generation facilities,” the utility said in a news release.
In February 2022, the LP&L Electric Utility Board (EUB) and Lubbock City Council both passed resolutions of intent to opt-in to the ERCOT retail competitive market–a step that is irrevocable. Included in the resolution was a series of tasks LP&L must complete before the move–all of which are already underway.
The notice sets a timetable for the remaining requirements. The next steps in this process will be for the EUB and the Lubbock City Council to establish a process in fall 2022 to choose a provider of last resort to handle customers that lose a chosen provider at any point post go-live in 2023.
In May 2023, LP&L will move the remaining 30% of its customers still connected to the Southwest Power Pool over to the ERCOT market. Once that step is complete, customers will have an opportunity to shop for and select a provider of their choice.
LP&L is developing and sharing resources and information on what customers can expect in a competitive electric market, including on its website.
Once retail electric competition launches in fall 2023, LP&L will no longer be an electricity provider in the Lubbock market. It will instead be a transmission and distribution utility focused on maintaining the electrical infrastructure across Lubbock.
City of Lubbock Utilities will continue to provide billing and customer service on a daily basis for the city utility departments including Water/Wastewater, Stormwater, and Solid Waste, just as it currently does.