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Frequently Asked Questions

Electric Reliability Cost Survey

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) is conducting a survey of Texas electricity customers to study the costs they may incur from power interruptions. The survey was developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and has been used nationally by utilities and electricity regulators to develop innovative grid reliability policy and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of grid infrastructure improvements.

Below you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about the survey. If your question is not answered here or you need additional information, please contact the PUCT's Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-888-782-8477 or emailing consumer@puc.texas.gov.

General Questions

Project Background

Data Usage

Survey Access / Experience


I received an invitation to participate in a study supported by the PUCT. Is this a legitimate study?
Yes, The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) directed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to survey electricity customers in Texas to determine customers' costs that could result from a power interruption. The survey has been widely used nationally and was created by the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. ERCOT has contracted with survey company PlanBeyond to distribute the survey.
Am I required to take the survey?
No. Participation is voluntary.
How did you get my contact information for this study?
Your electricity provider is required to share certain customer contact information with ERCOT. This information is not shared publicly. ERCOT uses this information to ensure all customers continue to receive electric service in the event something happens that impacts a customer's current service provider.
For customers in areas without Retail Competition
You have been contacted directly by your electricity provider and invited to participate in this survey. Your information will not be shared publicly.
Why do you need me to complete this survey?
Experience with studies on electric reliability show collecting information from customers about their experience and opinions through a controlled survey is a best practice to understand the economic impact of power interruptions.
Why did I receive an invitation?
To ensure the survey findings are representative of Texas residents and electric customers, a wide range of customers are being asked to participate. Your selection is based on a number of factors, including historical energy consumption and geographic location, as part of a representative sample of customers. The closer respondents in the survey reflect the broader Texas population, the more accurate the survey's findings will be for understanding the economic impact customers may experience during a power interruption.
Do I receive anything for filling out the survey?
No. Participation in the survey is voluntary and there is no payment or compensation.
Will my electricity or bill be impacted if I do not fill this out?
No. Participation in the survey is voluntary. There are no penalties for non-participation.
How do I stop getting contacted about this?
If you received an email invitation and wish to no longer receive emails, please click on the “Unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email invitation.
Who is sponsoring this study?
ERCOT is facilitating this study at the instruction of the PUCT. ERCOT is the organization that oversees the majority of the electric grid throughout Texas and works with electricity providers to ensure residents and businesses have access to electricity.
Who is conducting this study?
ERCOT is contracting with survey company PlanBeyond and The Brattle Group, an economics consulting company, to administer the survey and analyze results. The survey itself was developed by the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has been used nationally. Responses are being collected using a survey platform provided by Qualtrics; communications to respondents will come from a qualtrics.com email address. The Brattle Group will be responsible for analyzing the results of the survey.
What is the purpose of this study?
This survey will collect information to inform the PUCT and ERCOT on the costs residential, commercial, and industrial power users experience as a result of a power interruption. It can also be used to determine the value of investments in energy generation and other infrastructure to enhance electric grid reliability. Surveys of this nature are regularly used by electric utilities across the United States and the world for research purposes.
Why is this study being done now?
The PUCT is working to establish standards for reliable and affordable generation and delivery of electricity to customers. Conducting this survey now is essential to understanding how residential, commercial, and industrial electric customers value the electricity they use and the costs they incur during a power interruption.
Who will see my responses? Will my survey responses be shared with anyone?
Individual survey responses will be collected digitally by PlanBeyond Research using a secure survey platform provided by Qualtrics. Responses will be analyzed by The Brattle Group. Both PlanBeyond and The Brattle Group have provided data security verifications.
Responses will also be shared with LBNL to add to its research into the costs of reliability and power interruptions. All responses will be anonymized before sharing with LBNL to respect customer privacy while allowing LBNL to have the benefit of survey input from customers in Texas.
Will any of my personal and/or identifying information be included in my response?
Your email address, which was used to invite you into the study, will be associated with your responses. This is solely done to track whether you have completed your survey and ensure that the same person does not take the survey more than once. Some information about your electricity service, such as your service area and usage patterns, will be linked to your response for research purposes.
What will you do with this information?
This information will be used to relate response patterns to customer characteristics and usage behavior and to ensure that the survey includes a representative sample of different customers. All data will be anonymized before the responses are shared with LBNL and no personally identifiable information will be disclosed in the study when published.
What will be done with the information collected in my survey responses?
All responses will be collected and combined into a complete data set for analysis. This data set will allow us to identify broader trends regarding electricity outages and how customers are impacted by such outages.
How long will it take to complete the survey?
Approximately 10 minutes for residential customers and 30 minutes for commercial customers.
Do I have to complete the entire survey? Can I just take part of it?
To have your survey response counted, you are required to complete the entire survey. Partial responses will not be included in the final analysis.
I started my survey but didn't complete it. Can I restart it?
An incomplete survey must be completed within 24 hours of the time the respondent first exited it.
Can I retake the survey?
No, you can only take the survey once.
I heard about the survey from a friend or family member. Can I take it?
No. Only customers who receive a direct invitation with a unique code may take the survey. This ensures information is collected from a broad and representative sample of electricity customers.
Can I share the survey with a friend or family member?
No. The survey link you received can only be used by you and can only be used once.
Why is the survey screen saying the survey is closed?
The survey is scheduled to close late Spring 2024. If you are seeing a message that it is closed, it means survey responses are no longer being accepted.
How long will the survey be available to take?
The survey will be open to all invited participants from March 26, 2024 to late Spring 2024.
Can I still take the survey if it's after the close date?
No. Responses will not be accepted after the closing date.