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Texas Power Grid Ready for Winter Weather Expected This Weekend
December 31, 2021

The Texas power grid will see its first big test of 2022 this weekend as below-freezing weather conditions are expected throughout the state. The forecasted arrival of winter weather comes nine months after freezing temperatures from Winter Storm Uri paralyzed refining, petrochemical/resin production, and logistics.

Texas energy officials said, however, that the state's power grid is ready for winter weather conditions.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said this week that it has completed on-site inspections of mandatory winterization efforts, and inspection results show the independently owned electric generation fleet and electric transmission companies serving the ERCOT region are ready for winter weather. Inspections were completed at more than 300 electric generation units, representing 85%of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities.

ERCOT added that it has filed a preliminary summary inspection report with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas and will submit its final inspection report on January 18, 2022, for review and any potential enforcement action. The electric council will also conduct follow-up inspections on the generation and transmission facilities with potential identified issues.

ERCOT and PUC staff are actively monitoring the compliance plans of the generation resources that requested additional time to finalize compliance with the new winterization regulations. The maximum penalty for violating weatherization rules is $1,000,000/day per violation.

"Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization. "New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared."

The impact from Winter Storm Uri led many Polyethylene and Polypropylene producers to declare force majeures and initiate allocation programs for much of 2021, while prices shot up to record highs. Although commodity-grade resin prices have eroded from record highs during Q3 and Q4 of 2021, current levels are still above where they were a year earlier.

By Brian Balboa for The Plastics Exchange.

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