ERCOT Organization Backgrounder
Founded in 1970, ERCOT is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for overseeing the reliable and safe transmission of electricity over the power grid serving most of Texas. As the independent system operator (ISO) since 1996, ERCOT has been the broker between competitive wholesale power buyers and sellers. ERCOT ISO also provided the platform upon which Texas' electric utility industry made the transition to retail competition on January 1, 2002.
The Power Grid
Texas' main electric power grid is a network of more than 43,500 miles of long-distance, high-voltage transmission lines and substations that carry bulk electricity to multiple utility companies for distribution to their customers. This grid, which has about 74,000 megawatts of available generation capacity, delivers approximately 90 percent of the electricity used by about 24 million consumers in Texas.
The ERCOT region encompasses about 75 percent of the land area in Texas. The region does not include the El Paso area, the northern Panhandle (except for some transmission facilities built to move renewable generation from that region), a small area around Texarkana and a small portion of the region around Beaumont.
ERCOT's members include consumers, cooperatives, independent generators, independent power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipally owned electric utilities.
ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) and the Texas Legislature. The ERCOT board of directors is a 16-member "hybrid" group that includes six market participants from each of the six electric utility market groups, three consumer representatives, five independent (unaffiliated) members, the ERCOT CEO and the Texas PUC chair (non-voting). The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) makes policy recommendations to the board of directors. TAC is assisted by five standing subcommittees, as well as numerous workgroups and task forces.
ERCOT's operations activities are headquartered in Taylor, about 25 miles northeast of Austin in an 85,000-square-foot operations center and additional 75,000-square-foot facility. An additional backup operations center is located outside of Austin.
Most board and stakeholder meetings occur at an executive and administration center near the Austin-Bergstrom Airport at 7620 Metro Center Drive.