PUC Commissioners meet to discuss new proposal to improve power grid reliability

A proposal that would've increased the price of your power bill each month has been set aside, for now. This comes after the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which oversees ERCOT, met Thursday morning to discuss three proposals that would improve the state's power grid.

After three hours of discussion, PUC commissioners voted unanimously to review a new concept introduced at Thursday's meeting called Performance Credit Mechanism (PMC). The vote came after no officials at the meeting appeared in favor of the previous three proposals, one of which included potentially steeply raising costs for consumers.

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Energy expert Doug Lewin is the president of Stoic Energy and host of the Texas Power Podcast. He says the introduction of PMC surprised him.

"It seems at first blush to be a perhaps a clever way to kind of square the circle of what they're trying to do to procure more resources without throwing out the market design that Texas has used for 20+ years to keep prices lower here, at least rates lower here relative to other places," Lewin said.

The report's release was pushed back a month from mid-October to fall two days after the midterm elections in which Governor Abbott, who appointed all five PUC members, won re-election.

However, a year and a half after Winter Storm Uri, no new plan exists, and the state's power grid may still be vulnerable to blackouts in freezing temperatures.

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Lewin says Texans should always be prepared, just in case.

"You should be concerned, and you should be taking precautions ahead of the winter. Not ahead of this cold snap; it's a November cold snap, so I think we're okay there. But sure, something in January or February that looks like Uri," Lewin said.

The PUC is opening the proposal up to public comment and is set to meet again in January.