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Halloween comes early to ERCOT

Two days before Halloween and as most of the New York Mets' bats continued to show lifelessness in the World Series, news of a rabies-infected bat brought a timely dose of fear and humor to Electric Reliability Council of Texas stakeholders.

ERCOT is headquartered outside Austin, Texas, and has a significant office, the Met Center, in Austin, which famously has a large colony of bats.

At Thursday's ERCOT Technical Advisory Committee, Kenan Ogelman, newly appointed vice president for commercial operations, said he had "a health announcement to make as my first time speaking to y'all."

"On October 14, they found a dead bat outside the Met Center, and it tested positive for rabies, so we just want to share with all the stakeholders that, I guess, you know, stay away from bats, but also, if you on October 14 came in contact with the dead bat, you might need to get yourself checked out," Ogelman said.

It might not be too late for that. Treatment after exposure can prevent the disease if administered within 10 days of infection. Rabies is almost always fatal to humans after neurological symptoms develop, but symptoms can take two to 12 weeks to appear in humans.

Ogelman had previously served on various stakeholder committees as CPS Energy's director of energy market policy, so was well known to the stakeholders present.

Randa Stephenson, TAC chairwoman, joked, "Are you going to send out a market notice?"

Laughter ensued. Eric Goff, Citi Energy director for regulatory affairs, asked, "Are you the bat guy now?"

"It appears that I am," Ogelman said.


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