ERCOT – As a consumer, you’ve most likely heard the name before, but do you know exactly what it does? There’re so many acronyms in Texas’ deregulated market, it’s tough to keep your head wrapped around all of them. ERCOT, however, is a big one – especially if you want to know how your electric service is supervised and maintained.
Officially called the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT was founded in 1970, becoming the primary overseer of Texas’ power grid. Essentially, that means it’s responsible for managing the stream of electricity to about 23 million electric customers. These 23 million customers all fall within the jurisdiction of the ERCOT region, which encompasses about 75% of the state’s landmass and 85% of the state’s power grid. Remember, not all of Texas is deregulated. ERCOT manages areas where residents have the power to choose a retail electric provider.
ERCOT is a nonprofit organization, which focuses on the well-being of Texas consumers rather than its own financial gain. Specifically, ERCOT serves Texans by ensuring the reliability of their electric service. It goes about doing so in a number of different ways, some of which include:
Assisting the sign-up and switching process between retail electric providers.
Helping organize Texas’ wholesale electric market and retail electric market.
Maintaining nondiscriminatory policies for buyers and sellers of electricity around the ERCOT region.
ERCOT is also part of a larger network known as NERC. NERC, which stands for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, is a macro organization that helps develop and oversee the bulk power system in the U.S. and Canada. ERCOT is one of several organizations that works closely with NERC to ensure the safety and dependability of electricity’s transmission across nearly every part of the United States and Canada.
While most Texans won’t have much interaction with ERCOT (or NERC, for that matter), they can rest assured that they’re in good hands. Every year, ERCOT works to sustain and improve the Texas customer’s electric supply. No matter your provider, no matter your plan, ERCOT is making sure that you get the most out of your electric service.