LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock Power and Light management will continue moving forward with the idea of allowing customers to choose an electric provider in the ERCOT market. ERCOT is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Technically, on Tuesday, competition was not a formal item on the agenda but rather “a discussion” item with LP&L staff. The board affirmed most of what LP&L staff proposed.
The plan still needs approval from the Lubbock City Council and then a more formal approval from Lubbock’s Electric Utility Board (the LP&L board).
If approved, LP&L customers will choose an electric provider, and LP&L will simply provide the transmission lines to get the power to people’s homes.
Those who do not make a choice will be randomly assigned to a provider in the ERCOT market.
But then, in the event of an emergency – for example, if a provider is suddenly unable to supply power – state law calls for something called a provider of last resort. The EUB directed staff to choose a provider of last resort.
LP&L could have chosen itself as the provider of last resort. Cost and complexity were cited as reasons to designate a provider instead of LP&L acting on its own.
The plan calls for providers and LP&L to coordinate with each other in 2022. Assuming the timeline stays the same, by the end of 2023, a “go live” date for competition will be set.
On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for LP&L provided updated information. He said there will be no shopping until Lubbock gets much closer to a go-live date. Lubbock is on track for some time in 2023.
LP&L already began to gather suggestions for customers as they begin to shop for an electric provider – sometimes called CR or competitive retailer or called an REP or a retail electric provider.
Recommendations from Energy Choice Experts
- Choose fixed price, 12‐month term plans
- Switch plans every year to obtain “New Customers” discounts
- Pre‐payment plan rates are usually higher than other plans; avoid prepay plans.
- Avoid time‐of‐use and free night/weekend offers unless you plan to actively manage your daily use of electricity. While some hours are low and/or free, the high rates during the other hours usually more than offset the savings during those periods.
The EUB said the original move to ERCOT (one step completed in 2021, with another step in 2023) was to get better wholesale power prices. The decision to opt-in for competition has come more recently.
An opt‐in resolution will go to a vote of the EUB and Lubbock City Council. Contracts for retail choice technology and services will be presented to the EUB.
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CLARIFICATION: The headline and opening paragraphs were clarified to indicate that the EUB gave direction to staff. The story already said this is was not final approval but the changes to are to give greater emphasis.