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Medina EC News

Working All Year To Keep the Lights On

Message from CEO Herbert “Trey” Grebe III

Providing reliable power is and always will be Medina Electric Cooperative’s top priority. Power reliability seems to be making news more than ever these days; Medina EC is doing everything in our realm to ensure that when you go to flip that switch, the lights turn on.

As the energy industry continues to change and more sectors of the economy are becoming electrified, such as vehicles, machinery and even lawn equipment, more and more strain is being placed on the electric grid.

With the ever-growing need for electricity, I thought it would be a good time to share a few measures we’re taking to ensure you continue receiving the stable supply of power you depend on and deserve.

Locally, we work to maintain our distribution system for the added growth in population and increased electricity demand. Although it may seem counterintuitive, we maintain power reliability through planned, controlled outages to perform system upgrades such as transformer voltage conversions, pole replacements and line improvements. When we plan for this type of work, we notify members who will be impacted. It’s important to make sure your account has updated contact information on file so we can inform you prior to planned outages.

Planned forced outages can also be used to balance energy demand but only in rare circumstances, which can happen quickly. We work with our generation and transmission cooperative, South Texas Electric Cooperative to closely monitor supply and demand on our system and the state grid managed through the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

In May, ERCOT released its summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report, which anticipated sufficient supply to meet the energy demand this summer. However, in the rare extreme risk scenarios with low wind production combined with extreme unplanned thermal generator outages, demand could exceed the dispatchable supply, resulting in an energy emergency for the state.

A light bulb in the foreground of a photo with a woman inside a home

ERCOT recently released a communications tool that delivers clear and reliable information on ERCOT grid conditions. The Texas Advisory and Notification System will serve as a resource to the public to follow ERCOT grid conditions, introduce the ERCOT Weather Watch, inform the public on grid condition levels and of any public action needed, and strive to keep all Texans informed through various communications channels. You can learn more and sign up for TXANS here.

Medina EC also has a resource page related to ERCOT notifications.

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft of rules for cutting carbon emissions impacting both new and existing coal and natural gas power plants. These rules could place strain on all power grids at state and national levels. These rules could also force critical, always available power plants into early retirement and make new natural gas plants exceedingly difficult to permit, site and build.

As I write this in early June, the Legislature passed House Bill 1500 that addressed many electric market issues but was designed to incentivize generators to build more plants or extend the lives of existing ones. The Legislature also passed Senate Bill 2627, which creates a state-funded low-interest loan program for companies that want to build gas-fueled power plants and pays a bonus for those connected to the grid by 2029.

As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, we are closely monitoring the politics surrounding power reliability. We know maintaining a diverse mix of fuel sources is critical to reliably meet the growing demand for electricity with considerations to which fuel sources are the most reliable in our always-on world.

Until next time,