The initial phase of Lubbock's switch to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid is complete, ending a weekend of planned, temporary outages across much of the city.
At 12:09 p.m. on Sunday, Lubbock Power & Light finished connecting 70% of its system - approximately 83,000 customers - to the ERCOT grid, according to a city news release.
This interconnection is the first in Lubbock’s history and the first in the state in 25 years and is a major milestone in the city's years-long endeavor to secure its power source.
Saturday’s work began at 8 a.m. and concluded at 6:10 p.m. with LP&L connecting 11 substations to ERCOT.
"Crews proceeded smoothly throughout the day with all but one substation staying within the estimated 30 minute outage window," reads the statement from the city.
Over Saturday and Sunday, the average outage time for all 17 substations was 16.6 minutes. The nature of the outages prompted Lubbock police and first responders to control traffic at some temporarily unlit intersections, and forced area business, churches and residents to accommodate the mostly brief interruptions.
LP&L, the city's municipally owned utility, has been working to make infrastructure updates to connect with the ERCOT system since March 2018.
“This is a historic day and weekend for our entire community,” David McCalla, Executive Director for LP&L, said in the release. “It’s been a massive undertaking, and I want to thank our staff and crews, City staff, local authorities and everyone that worked together to ensure a safe and smooth transition. I especially want to thank our customers for their patience throughout the holiday weekend.”
Following this first phase of connecting to ERCOT, the city can now seek approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas for the second phase, connecting the remaining 30 percent of LP&L’s system - about 24,000 customers.
LP&L customers can expect to see savings in power costs with the removal of expensive fixed capacity charges that aren’t required in ERCOT. Joining ERCOT also eliminates the need to build a new power plant at an estimated cost ranging from $350 million to $700 million.