Regulators reveal study on ideas to make Texas power grid more reliable

State regulators revealed a months-long study on ideas to make the power grid more reliable.

That study notes there is "significant risk" with a plan public utility commissioners have discussed moving forward with.

State leaders signaled which plan they would like to move forward with.

The public and other stakeholders have a little over a month to weigh in on a plan that’s unique, for a unique grid.   

The state’s Public Utility Commission met Thursday, revealing a long-awaited study.

It’s part of efforts to re-design the market for buying and selling electricity in the wake of the deadly 2021 winter storm.

"For the first time ever, the companies that sell you, that you send your money to each month when you pay your electric bill, will now actually be required to ensure they deliver that power," Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman Peter Lake.                     

The plan that Lake is championing is a new one that emerged from the study called PCM, or Performance Credit Mechanism.

"Our analysis that we published today shows that by implementing a reform like that, we can achieve a ten times improvement in reliability for little to no additional cost for consumers," Lake said. "It was an outstanding outcome and a remarkable tradeoff for the right payers in Texas."

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 09: An electric generator is seen at the CenterPoint Energy powerplant on June 09, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Power demand in Texas is expected to set new all-time highs as heatwaves surge to levels rarely seen outside of summer, a

But the study commissioned by state regulators recommended a different plan, noting, "implementation of the PCM entails significant risk because of its novelty."

"We recognize that, as many of my colleagues said, Texas is unique and deserves and needs a unique solution," Lake said. "So we're not going to settle for just the off the shelf products. We're going to make sure we get the right product for Texas."

Commissioners moved Thursday to open up public comment to taxpayers and for other experts to weigh in.

RELATED: Texas power grid reforms won't make it more reliable while still raising bills, study finds

Doug Lewin is an energy consultant who closely follows the commission.  

"PCM is still too new for me to really say what I think of it, yet I need to study it more," Lewin said. "I think it's, at a minimum, interesting, intriguing, worthy of more discussion and study."

One concern he does have is that while the study used 40 years of Texas weather in its models, it did not include the 2021 winter storm.

"If they didn't model that, how do we actually know that — as the chairman asserted today — it's only a 2% or 3% cost increase in an extreme year? It would almost certainly be higher than that," Lewin explained.

[REPORTER: "Why wasn't that included in studying some of these proposals and how they would work?"]

"So as you can see in the consultant's report, it did not include the outages from 2021 because, as the consultants recognized, we have implemented an array of reforms to address that. And so don't expect that to happen again," Lake answered.

Meanwhile, a report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found the grid would still be vulnerable if another winter storm like 2021 hit this winter.

CLICK HERE for a link to the Public Utility Commission’s website, where people can see and weigh in on the plans.