Most Lubbock, Texas residents started getting their power from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid on June 1. The shift of around 83,000 customers from the Southwest Power Pool to ERCOT was the largest customer transfer in the history of Texas’ grid manager.
City authorities believe the change will give Lubbock residents access to low energy prices. They also wanted to avoid the cost of building the new power plant that Lubbock would have needed if it remained in the Power Pool. But some residents worry about reliability issues, especially after last February’s winter storm and power outages, which ERCOT oversaw.
“We analyzed this heavily, for years, as to changing (electric) grids,” says Lubbock City Councilperson Jeff Griffith. “One thing a lot of Lubbock residents wanted was to be in a deregulated market with a competitive environment.”
Lubbock resident Debra Spencer has a different view. During the winter storm, she only lost power once for about 15 minutes. That compares to many of ERCOT’s 4 million customers who lost power for days. Spencer responded by emailing state representatives with an appeal to pause the switch. “I was up here just going, Oh no. I don’t want to do this.”