Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago, Texas had several days of electricity (and associated natural gas) blackouts, some of those areas lost water for a number of days, and some areas lost Internet connectivity—and Internet-based communications—for some time.
A Wall Street Journal ran an article last week that looked into the sources of the electricity failures; it’s well worth the read in its own right.
A couple of items jumped out at me, though, concerning ERCOT, a State-level regulator about which I’ve written before.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas activated a program that pays large industrial power users to reduce their consumption during emergencies. But the grid operator, known as Ercot, didn’t know who was being paid to participate in this program and what type of facilities were getting shut off, it has since acknowledged.
How is that possible? How can an entity that bills itself as a reliability facility not know who its members are or what types of facilities it might affect?
It gets better, though, regarding ERCOT’s member facilities.
“We do not know what type of facility it is,” said Kenan Ögelman, Ercot’s Vice Ppresident of Commercial Operations. “We do know [a facility] has qualified and performed to the requirement because we test them, but we don’t know what it is they do.”
How anything be tested if the testing personnel don’t know what [a facility] does?
ERCOT really has to go.