Following the February winter storm and extended power outages, GP&L initiated a review into how the utility can better manage electric service outages ordered by ERCOT (also known as controlled outages or load shed) and enhance information sharing during an event. Progress is being made on both of these initiatives.
While changes at GP&L cannot prevent ERCOT from mandating electric outages due to power shortages on the state grid, the changes will allow for more effective rotation within GP&L’s service area and help limit the length of those outages. As a reminder, outages can occur locally due to other causes such as broken tree limbs, weather events, cars hitting poles, or equipment failure.
Since the storm, GP&L has been taking steps to enhance the operational capabilities of our local electric delivery system.
- Adjustments are being made so that each distribution feeder serves a similar amount of electric load. This system balancing will help with load shedding and power restoration if ERCOT requires controlled outages in the future.
- GP&L has been identifying additional distribution feeders that could be put into outage rotation to meet ERCOT’s orders for load shedding.
- The automated load shed software program in GP&L’s outage management system has been reviewed, updated and tested to provide more efficient rotation during outages.
GP&L continues to evaluate other measures that could help with local system management. These measures will require additional time to explore and implement. An example is advanced meters, which have capabilities that may allow GP&L to remotely disconnect and connect specific locations rather than having to take whole areas out of service.
After the winter event, a consultant was hired by GP&L to provide recommendations for enhancing communications during emergencies. GP&L is currently reviewing their recommendations related to the winter storm. These will be incorporated with work that is happening throughout the City of Garland to enhance citizen communication during emergency events.
Finally, ERCOT has taken several measures to improve reliability of the Texas electric grid beginning this summer. More long-term solutions are still needed, and the Texas Legislature has passed several bills that provide direction to the Public Utility Commission and ERCOT to strengthen the grid. Many of these initiatives are highly complex and considerable in scale. They will take time to fully develop and implement. In the meantime, know that GP&L is committed to providing reliable electric service to the Garland community.
To stay informed on emergency situations, the City encourages Garland residents to subscribe to the Garland Alert System and other enews options. Visit GarlandTX.gov for details.