- A watchdog for Texas’ power-grid operator said it overcharged as millions went powerless.
- The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is not federally regulated.
- The report said power prices were set at $US9,000 ($11,734) per megawatt per hour, the highest price possible.
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Potomac Economics, an independent market monitor for Texas’ Public Utility Commission said that the state’s power-grid operator massively overcharged residents as the state was rocked by a deep freeze and power grid failures in late February.
The overcharges came in at a total of $US16 ($21) billion, according to the filing. The report recommended that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) take measures to reverse the charges.
In its report, the monitor determined that as Texas was gripped by multiple snowstorms, prices were inflated for 33 hours longer than necessary.
“Therefore, the [independent market monitor] recommends that the Commission direct ERCOT to correct the real-time prices from 0:00 February 18, 2021, to 09:00 February 19, 2021, to remove the inappropriate pricing intervention that occurred during that time period,” the report said, adding that ERCOT should retroactively reset prices to normal.
Bloomberg reported that the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which regulates ERCOT, would discuss the monitor’s report at a meeting on Friday.
ERCOT, largely privatized and under its own regulation system, allows for wholesale power prices to be determined by supply and demand.
The report indicated that during the February storm, the Public Utility Commission directed the power-grid operator to set power prices at $US9,000 ($11,734) per megawatt per hour, which is the highest possible price operators are permitted to change in the state of Texas.
In the weeks after the freeze and power failures, ERCOT, the Public Utility Commission, and state leaders have been embroiled in crisis, as state legislators have called for new energy leadership and answers.
The chairman of the Public Utility Commission resigned, and yesterday, former ERCOT CEO Bill Magness was ousted by the power grid’s board.
Seven of fifteen ERCOT board members have resigned since the freeze, with five resigning after it was revealed that they did not reside in Texas.
The outages, widely lasting from February 10 to February 17, as natural gas and power operators were blitzed by arctic temperatures and shoddy power-grid infrastructure not meant to withstand the winter weather.
Millions of Texans were left powerless, and with water damage, and at least 80 Texans died due to cold temperatures and related causes.