Statement From Electric Power Supply Association President and CEO Todd Snitchler on FERC-NERC Joint Inquiry Report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 7, 2023
CONTACT: Christina Nyquist | 603.930.8818 | email@example.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new report on power system performance during 2022’s Winter Storm Elliott shows the need for action to improve electric reliability, said the head of the organization representing power generators providing about 150,000 MW of electric generation capacity throughout the U.S.
Todd Snitchler, President and CEO of the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), issued the following statement after the release of the final report from a joint inquiry conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and its regional entities into how the power system performed during the historic December 2022 storm.
“We take seriously the findings from the FERC-NERC report as we continue to pursue our mission of providing reliable power generation to homes, businesses, and critical services. EPSA and our member companies are committed to improving power system performance in all weather and demand scenarios and have been conducting our own assessment and analysis of the event over the past year as we work with all relevant industry participants, stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers to identify and address areas for improvement. This report adds valuable data to support that effort, and we look forward to reviewing it in full.
Of particular note, the report reveals that no market model, region of the country, or fuel type is immune to the challenges experienced during WS Elliott. A well-designed competitive power market, however, is the best foundation to serve power needs reliably and efficiently. Natural gas generation remains and will remain a vital component of a reliable system. Areas of the country served by competitive power markets fared comparatively well during the storm when it came to resource adequacy, as PJM Interconnection was able to procure not only enough generation to meet its demand but also to export to other regions that faced shortfalls and had to implement rolling blackouts even with the challenges and outages experienced in the region. Regions served by public power and vertically integrated entities were subject to more than 5,400 MW of load shed at various times during the event – the largest controlled firm load shed recorded in the history of the Eastern Interconnection as the report notes.
Nevertheless, we are not satisfied that this storm was merely a near miss. It is clear that power generation outages involving all types of resources were significant in several regions and must be addressed and corrected. While already operating under extensive reliability protocols and planning processes, generation owners and operators have since taken action to determine the root causes of these outages, assess their winterization and preparedness plans, and determine steps to correct problems within their control.
Other factors, including production and pipeline transportation, also impacted fuel availability, along with grid operator forecasting errors that disrupted the ability of generators to timely access necessary fuel. Additionally, even service to certain generators with contracts for firm gas delivery could not be met during the event due to system conditions, impeding the ability for those units to access necessary fuel during the critical period.
Because the solutions are more important than assigning blame, we have made recommendations to improve market design to address reliability and adjust planning parameters to reflect current grid demands, and have convened multisector industry meetings and developed recommendations and approaches to improve gas-electric coordination. This comes as we continue to advocate for policies and regulatory approaches that are based in operational reality and support reliability, including meaningful and inclusive permitting reform, market-based emissions reduction policy, and realistic timelines for decarbonizing the grid. Addressing the pace of retirement and retention of much needed dispatchable resources to operate the grid reliably must be a top priority.
Reliability is our top priority, as it must be for all involved in our nation’s energy value chain. It’s time to get to work and ensure that the lights stay on this winter and in winters to come.”
The Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) is the national trade association representing America’s competitive power suppliers. EPSA members provide about 150,000 MW of reliable and competitively priced electricity from environmentally responsible facilities using a diverse mix of fuels and technologies including natural gas, wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, storage, biomass, and coal. EPSA seeks to bring the benefits of competition to all power customers. Learn more at www.epsa.org and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter @EPSAnews.