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Texas Utility Regulators Adopt Expanded Weather Preparation Rules

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) on Sept. 29 adopted expanded weather preparation rules for electricity generators and transmission utilities to ensure grid reliability during both summer and winter weather events.

The expanded rules build on the successful implementation of the winter weather preparation requirements adopted by the PUCT in November 2021 and add new summer weather preparation requirements to begin in June 2023.

In addition to extending current winter weather preparation requirements into the future, the rule adopts specific temperature standards for ten geographically distinct areas of the state and establishes minimum and maximum temperatures at which owners of electric generation and transmission entities need to prepare their facilities to be able to operate.

These temperature standards go into effect in 2023.The expanded rule also removes the special exemption process adopted last year for utilities that could not meet mandatory preparation deadlines due to supply chain issues or other acceptable reasons.

Finally, the new rule requires the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for about 90% of the state, to deliver a weather study that examines several weather parameters that can have negative impacts on the reliable operation of the electric grid. The rule requires ERCOT to update this study at least every five years to account for variability in weather patterns over time.

The 2021 weather preparation rules already in place as part of reliability reforms passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott require electricity generators to winterize their facilities against extreme cold weather.