Stakeholders, Staff Discuss Price Investigation Notices
ERCOT stakeholders and staff last week discussed several alternatives to market price investigation announcements, following a July 20 market notice that raised anxiety levels during the height of the recent Texas heatwave.
The grid operator sent the market notice following discovery of inaccurate definitions of two double-circuit contingencies in its market systems. According to the notice, staff had begun “an investigation of market prices.”
The market’s shadow price at the time was $20/MWh, when it should have been around $24/MWh.
“It happened at a very heightened time in the market. There was high anxiety when this was noticed,” Reliant Energy’s Bill Barnes said during the July 26 Technical Advisory Committee meeting. “I appreciate the market notice … but we were surprised to see how small the change in price was. Why the fire drill?”
Staff explained there is no threshold for issuing a market notice on price investigations and that they were only following protocols.
“There’s a tradeoff of me sending something out as soon as we’re investigating,” said Kenan Ogelman, ERCOT’s vice president of commercial operations. “If I try to understand what’s going on, there could be some delay.”
Citigroup Energy’s Eric Goff suggested staff could have sent an initial notice that a contingency had been found but that it wasn’t related to the market’s operating reserve demand curve.
“[The notice] just said a price correction without the details,” Goff said. “That caused some uncertainty as we moved into high-priced periods.”
ERCOT sent the notice following the discovery of an error in the definition of two double-circuit contingencies east of Dallas. Only one of the contingencies was part of a binding transmission constraint that lasted only four hours.
The issue affected the July 18 real-time operating day and the July 20 day-ahead operating day.
Corrected day-ahead prices were published on July 23. Staff will have to ask the Board of Directors for approval to resettle the real-time prices during its Aug. 7 meeting.
Staff said ERCOT is making “procedural changes” to ensure the error doesn’t happen again.
“I think there is a better answer out there,” Ogelman said. “We appreciate the conversation. We want to eliminate [that problem].”
TAC Endorses Long-Delayed Governing Amendments
The TAC unanimously endorsed proposed amendments to ERCOT’s articles of incorporation and bylaws, ending a monthslong series of delayed votes and redline exchanges.
“We’ve ended up with a very, very good work product,” said ERCOT Assistant General Counsel Vickie Leady.
The amendments include identifying the Public Utility Regulatory Act as the source for the board’s mandatory composition, and using Public Utility Commission rules to govern the distribution of assets and winding up provisions in the event ERCOT is decertified as an independent organization.
The amendments will be presented to the Human Resources and Governance Committee on Aug. 6, and then to the board Aug. 7. Staff plans to use an email vote to seek approval from its nearly 300 corporate members, and then file the amendments for the PUC’s approval in mid-September.
The ISO hopes to have the amendments in place by January.
Staff have created a website to store the different versions of the proposed changes. The amendments are the first updates since 2000.
New Leadership Confirmed to ROS
The committee confirmed new leadership for its Reliability and Operations Subcommittee.
Golden Spread Electric Cooperative’s Tom Burke will become chairman, replacing Oncor’s Alan Bern after he stepped down from the role in June. Tenaska’s Boon Staples will replace Burke as vice chair.
Committee Endorses 17 Revision Requests, Changes
The committee unanimously approved new language in a remanded Nodal Protocol revision request (NPRR) incorporating an intraday or same-day weighted average fuel price into the mitigated offer cap.
The TAC unanimously cleared NPRR847 in May, but the Board of Directors sent it back in June over concerns that the calculation of blended fuels was “vague and confusing.” (See “Board Approves 8 Change Requests,” ERCOT Board of Directors Briefs: June 12, 2018.)
Staff told stakeholders the original language did not define the calculation correctly, using the total fuel volume twice.
The NPRR is meant to ensure resources are capped at the appropriate cost during high fuel-price events and that LMPs reflect the true incremental cost of fuel.
The committee also unanimously approved 16 other changes, clearing a backlog produced by the cancellation of its June meeting: seven NPRRs, a revision to the Nodal Operating Guide (NOGRR), two changes to the Planning Guide (PGRRs), three revisions to the Retail Market Guide (RMGRRs), an update to the Resource Registration Glossary (RRGRR), a system change request (SCR) and a change to the Verifiable Cost Manual (VCMRR).
- NPRR856: Clarifies that for day-ahead make-whole settlement purposes, the “offline but available for SCED deployment” status is considered an online status and will be considered an offline status after system implementation.
- NPRR862: Incorporates a number of revisions addressing recent changes made by the PUC’s rulemaking related to reliability-must-run service (Project No. 46369).
- NPRR866: Addresses two objectives related to mapping registered distributed generation and load resources to transmission loads in the network operations model by codifying the existing process for mapping a load resource or an aggregate load resource to its appropriate load point in the model; and by outlining how to map a registered DG facility to its appropriate load point in the model.
- NPRR873: Outlines expectations for posting information pertaining to intra-hour wind power and load forecasts on the Market Information Systems public area. The NPRR also proposes two new definitions and acronyms for the intra-hour wind power and intra-hour load forecasts (IHWPF and IHLF, respectively).
- NPRR874: Changes the net allocation to load settlement stability report by breaking out the load-allocated congestion revenue rights monthly revenue zonal amount from the other load-allocated charges, and by providing dollars per megawatt-hour by congestion management zone.
- NPRR875: Adds clarifying language to sync the protocols with NPRR864, which modifies the reliability unit commitment engine to scale down commitment costs of fast-start resources with less than one-hour starts.
- NPRR877: Allows for the use of actual metered interval data for initial settlement of an operating day for electric service identifiers that currently require BUSIDRRQ load profiles.
- NOGRR174: Harmonizes the automatic voltage regulator and the power system stabilizer testing requirements with the recently approved NERC Standard MOD-026-1, Verification of Models and Data for Generator Excitation Control System or Plant Volt/Var Control Functions.
- PGRR061: Includes locations for registered DG facilities in the annual load data request process.
- PGRR062: Proposes new processes, communication and document sharing and storage requirements to be included in the new generation interconnection or change request application.
- RMGRR152: Changes the cancellation method from the MarkeTrak cancel-with-approval process to the 814_08 cancel-request Electronic Data Interchange transaction.
- RMGRR153: Removes references to Sharyland Utilities, which no longer operates as a distribution service provider in the retail market, and updates American Electric Power contact information.
- RMGRR154: Removes references to the Lite Up Texas discount, which ended in August 2016.
- RRGRR017: Supports NPRR866 by providing a process for mapping registered DG facilities to their appropriate load points in the network operations model.
- SCR796: Modifies the Market Management System’s validation rules for bids and offers to exclude resource nodes within a private-use network site as valid settlement points for day-ahead market energy-only offers and bids, and for point-to-point obligation bids.
- VCMRR022: Directs ERCOT to contract a coal index price with a fuel vendor and includes a methodology for calculating the quarterly fuel adder for coal-fired and lignite-fired resources based on that index.
— Tom Kleckner