Frequently Asked Questions - Texas
- What is Power Through?
Power Through is an energy resilience service offering backup generation at an affordable rate. We facilitate the installation, operation, and maintenance of natural gas-fired generators at customer facilities for a monthly cost added on the customer bill rather than a total upfront cost. The generators are first and foremost to provide enhanced reliability of electricity at customer sites. Second, the generators provide energy in the electric market when not being used for emergencies. The production of energy in the electric market allows Entergy to provide this service to participating customers at a discount.
- Who owns, operates, & maintains the generator?
Entergy will own, operate, & maintain the generator located on the customer’s premises. Backup electric service supplied by the generator will be offered at an affordable, fixed monthly charge over a period of time of the customer’s choice up to 20 years inclusive of installation, operation, and maintenance costs. Entergy will maintain and operate its Power Through facilities as appropriate. Entergy will have the exclusive right to manually and/or remotely operate the Power Through generator at all times it deems appropriate. You will receive automated priority use in the event of a grid power outage.
- How do I pay for the Power Through generator?
The monthly charge will be included on your business’ monthly bill for electric service (similar to how charges are included today for additional facilities). There are no upfront charges by Entergy for participation.
- Who pays for the natural gas?
Entergy Texas is responsible for supplying natural gas to the generator. We will work with local utilities to do this.
- What are the requirements for my business to be part of Power Through?
• You must be a commercial, government, or industrial customer of Entergy Texas. We are not servicing residential customers through Power Through at this time.
• Your business must have a need for a generator of more than 100 kw and less than 10MW.
• Your business must have natural gas service available on-site.
• Adequate space is needed for the generator. We will work with you to determine the generator size needed and the space it will require.
• Your facility will need to pass a series of technical feasibility requirements the Power Through team will facilitate.
- What is a performance credit?
Entergy Texas will utilize the backup generator as an energy resource in the electric market. We will provide a credit for a portion of the energy value received when the generator is operated in the electric market. This credit will show on the host customer bill on a two-month lag to allow Entergy to process the MISO settlements and calculate the performance credit. This credit is subject to later adjustment if MISO performs market resettlements, which affect the value of the performance credit.
- How often will you turn my generator on?
The generator will automatically turn on in emergency events. The generator will be started remotely when needed operating in the electric market. We expect the generator to run around 150 hours a year, but it depends on the conditions of the market and the demand for electricity. Also, generators are periodically tested weekly or monthly depending on size and manufacturer recommendations.
- How long will it take for my generator to be installed and available?
Though every installation is different due to unique installation requirements, it typically takes about 4-6 months to procure a generator, customize the solution, obtain required permits, prepare the site, and have it installed and ready to go. During this time you will have the benefit of an experienced partner, Entergy, to minimize burden to you and help efficiently navigate the process.
- What will the costs be to me?
Your cost for backup electric service will be based on the total installed cost of the generator but reduced by the portion of costs paid by Entergy associated with the generator’s value to the overall customer base.
The total installed cost for a natural gas generator will be unique to each customer based on their generator provider choice and construction needs. Prior to signing a contract to participate in Power Through, a partner vendor and Power Through will present an estimate of the total cost including the unit and the customer’s share of those costs, options selected, installation, and maintenance that will factor into a fixed monthly payment after the equipment is operational. Customers should expect to receive a discount with the Power Through offering as compared to the price to purchase, install, and maintain solely by an electrical contractor.
As with any work of this nature, unexpected changes in cost could result once the on-site work begins. Therefore, participating customers will be responsible for paying their allocation of the actual installed costs over time, even if different than the original estimate (whether higher or lower).
- What are the key advantages of the Power Through solution?
Natural gas is cleaner and more reliable with longer uninterrupted fuel supplies compared to diesel. We want to give you the best backup power currently available in the market.
Cleaner: As per EPA regulations, any generator that is used during non-emergency events needs to be below a certain level of emissions. So, we are only working with natural gas generators for Power Through. Natural gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels when it burns. Also, natural gas does not produce a pungent odor, which is fairly common in generators powered by diesel.
Quieter: Natural gas generators produce less noise pollution and can be more easily attenuated than diesel generators.
More affordable fuel: The cost of natural gas is lower than the price of diesel per BTU and there is no need for onsite storage which requires additional maintenance.
More reliable: Each system will also be designed with an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) so that we can remotely turn it on. For you, having an ATS means that in the event of a power outage, the generator will turn on automatically as well as back off when the grid is restored. Finally, we work with only the most qualified maintenance and fuel vendors, to do all the required maintenance, as often as is needed to ensure the health of your generator.
- How will my operations be affected when the generator is activated for grid use in non-emergency situations?
With our ‘make before break’ solution, we will transfer you seamlessly from the grid to the generator and back if the unit is activated during normal grid operations. You may experience some noise from the generator running depending on its location. During the event of a loss of power from the grid, the backup power supply will activate within about 10 seconds to bring your business back online. You may experience some noise from the generator running depending on its location.
- Where will the generator be installed?
The location of the equipment will be determined through detailed engineering and planning, with support from the backup generator supplier / installer. First, we will determine what size and type of generator is best for your needs, particularly your electric load. Second, to determine a location, we will take into account factors such as the location of your gas and electric meters, your service panel, existing easements and rights-of-way, and the physical layout of your facility. We will carry out this process together, along with the backup generator supplier / installer to develop a least-cost, best-fit solution for your business.
- What if I move my facilities or close them before the end of the 20 years?
Per the termination charges provision, if your business ceases to take electric service from the Company during the term of the Customer Agreement, your company must still satisfy its financial obligations for the remaining non-avoidable costs associated with the generator under the contract, which can be handled either through continuing to make the monthly payments (if there are four years or less remaining) or by making a lump sum payment for the non-avoidable costs. The lump sum payment would be due no later than thirty (30) days after the date of the lump sum invoice.
If your facility is changing ownership or tenancy, a transfer of responsibility to the new owner or tenant may take place. Entergy will approve or deny and facilitate transfers of responsibility.
- What happens if my generator fails when I need it?
With our full maintenance schedules and continuous monitoring of the generator’s health, it’s very unlikely that the generator will fail. In the rare event that it does, our Original Equipment Manufacturer (“OEM”) and maintenance partners will be readily available to visit your location and get the generator up and running. Since we will be constantly monitoring the generator from our command center, we will be able to detect if the generator fails. This will trigger dispatching a service professional to correct the issue and notify you.
- What if I already own a generator? Can my generator be used for demand response? Can you buy my generators from me and use them for this?
We are currently only working with new generation installations. Please let us know when your current generators end their expected life so that we can partner with you for an upgrade.
- What equipment will be installed?
The primary equipment installed includes: (1) a natural gas backup generator sized for your business with a sound actuating weather enclosure; (2) an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) with an automatic outage function; and (3) a control gateway for remote monitoring and on demand function.
- What is normally included in the cost of installation?
• Hardware (generator, ATS, gateway, etc.) installation
• Electrical wiring and conduit from generator and utility to the ATS and your business
• Mechanical piping for natural gas to the generator
• Civil site work (dirt work, concrete pad, fencing, permitting)
• Labor costs (mechanical and electrical)
• Transport and logistics
• Equipment siting (crane) for generator and ATS
• SAT (system acceptance test) and commissioning
• Typical installation, to be evaluated case by case
- What do you need to know about my business to size the generator?
We need to know your facility’s load profile. While we can estimate the appropriate size of a generator based on your company’s power usage, to properly size the generator we will want to determine your peak load (& in-rush current), understand your configuration and major loads, and any existing partial coverage generators. It is also important for us to know any electrical need changes expected whether through new equipment or business expansion.
- How do I know it will be safe when you turn on my generator remotely?
The generator will be enclosed and monitored so that our dispatchers are sure that it’s safe to turn them on.
- What information will you give me about my generator?
We will send a notification informing you of the generator being turned on and off. You will also have access to generator usage information from the Power Through team.
- What tests will you perform as part of the System Acceptance Test?
To make sure that the Power Through generator is ready to be operated, we will perform tests to receive:
• Confirmation of automatic switching to generator power during unplanned outage
• Confirmation of ability to remotely operate system
• Confirmation of ability to disconnect customer from grid and return to normal grid service
• Confirmation of ability of system to carry and follow customer’s load (may be building load or load bank test)
• Confirmation of permitting and code requirements
- How often will you do maintenance on the generator? What can I expect from this?
Maintenance and repairs of the generator is included with the Power Through offering. Maintenance and repairs will be conducted by our OEM and maintenance partners in accordance with the manufacturer recommendations to ensure reliability when it is needed. While the specifics of maintenance will vary by size and manufacturer, it generally includes inspection, oil changes, filters, seals, spark plugs, fuses, belts, hoses, batteries, and periodic run & load testing. Everything that is needed to make sure the generator runs when needed. The expected run time generally precludes the need for any major overhauls over the estimated 20 year life.
- How is it determined which and how many generators Entergy dispatches during non-emergency dispatch times?
Power Through will dispatch generators when it is more economical to operate these than to generate electricity or buy it from the market. This typically happens during high demand moments. MISO may also order dispatch of the units during emergencies. Typically, we expect run time to vary seasonally. Generally, the unit may run as little as an hour a day in the spring and fall; during the winter and summer the generator could run for a few hours at a time up to a full day. Overall we expect around 150 hours a year of run time.
- What are you monitoring from my generator?
We will remotely monitor for any alert or alarms from the generator and dispatch a service professional to correct the issue and notify you of the issue and the solution.
- Who pays for the removal of the unit if and when it's required?
If your business satisfies the full 20-year initial term, you will have the option to remove the generator solution by covering all necessary costs of removal after contacting Entergy Texas. Entergy Texas has the right to remove the generator solution at anytime after the Power Through Agreement is terminated.
- How will we handle permitting?
Entergy and its respective vendors shall be responsible for obtaining any applicable license or permit required to operate the unit.
- Could we install solar panels or other power types instead?
Power Through currently works with only natural gas generators at this time. For now, as batteries are still very expensive, generators are the best technology to provide power during extended outages. If you are interested in installing solar panels, please visit the Entergy website.