The Government-Imposed Cost of Electricity in Texas

By -- July 17, 2024 No Comments

“Government increased the cost of Texas electricity by $20 Billion in 2023.”

On July 1, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that they “will seek to expand the [Texas Energy Fund] to $10 billion to build more new [generation] plants as soon as possible.” The Texas Legislature, with voter approval, created the Fund last year with initial funding of $5 billion.

Subsidizing multi-billion dollar generators and electric utilities using Texans’ money is nothing new in Texas. Figure 1 shows that in 2023 the U.S. government, Texas’ state government, and Texas local governments increased the cost of electricity in the Texas area served by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) by $19.9 billion, most of it by providing subsidies and benefits to generators and transmission companies. This represented 42.7% of the total cost of electricity to Texans in ERCOT.…

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Restoring Sanity, Reliability, and Affordability to the Texas Electric Grid

By -- June 20, 2024 No Comments

“Texas politicians have added at least $38 billion to the cost of electricity through higher bills or higher taxes since 2019…. Retail rates haven’t reached the level of New York ($0.24 per KWh) or California ($0.32), but Texas’s rising $0.15 rate is disconcerting.”

With its grid overwhelmed by renewable energy, Texas is putting natural gas back in the game. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) has received 125 notices of intent that propose more than 55,000 megawatts of new generation, most of it gas-fired.

Texans should not be surprised at this turn of events. Generators are simply following the money. Taxpayer money, that is.

Background

After Winter Storm Uri, public pressure forced Texas politicians to wake up to—though not confess—the damage they had caused by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at generation that only works when the weather permits.…

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Texas Defeats Electric Competition (Part 2)

By -- January 25, 2024 No Comments

Editor’s Note: The following is the second in a three-part series by the Energy Alliance, a project of the Texas Business Coalition, examining how the Public Utility Commission of Texas has violated consumer choice and market forces in the Texas electric market. Yesterday’s post, Storm Uri: The PUCT’s $26 billion Electricity Tax.

On January 30, the Texas Supreme Court will hold a hearing to determine whether the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) violated the Texas Legislature’s instructions that “electric services and their prices should be determined by customer choices and the normal forces of competition” when it arbitrarily set the price of electricity at $9,000 per megawatt hour during Winter Storm Uri. The Texas Third Court of Appeals has already determined the PUC’s action to be illegal.…

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Giberson on Negative Wind Pricing (2008)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 11, 2023 No Comments

“This seems a little crazy. During these negative price periods, suppliers are paying ERCOT to take their power…. You could … build a giant toaster in West Texas and be paid by generators to operate it.”

Some 15 years ago, Michael Giberson at Knowledge Problem commented on a strange phenomenon–negative pricing by wind power, where operators with very low marginal costs (the wind is free) were paying takers per KWh to gain big tax credits, mostly federal.

Giberson’s analysis (reposted below) identified the malinvestment and ‘big anti-conservation incentive’. But he did not focus on what cumulatively would result from this distortion: a wounded Texas grid from chronic low prices/margins knocking out thermal generation. The unreliables–via government privilege– knocking out the reliables (what Bill Peacock would call predatory pricing).…

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Energy Emergency Alert! ERCOT’s Close Call of September 6 (Part 2)

By -- September 13, 2023 No Comments Continue Reading

Energy Emergency Alert! ERCOT’s Close Call of September 6 (Part I)

By -- September 12, 2023 3 Comments Continue Reading

Texas’s Central Planning: Duplicating the Grid

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 16, 2023 2 Comments Continue Reading

Texas’s Wounded Grid (yes, it’s windpower again)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 12, 2022 8 Comments Continue Reading

Texas Legislature Ignores Renewables in Grid Reform: More Problems Ahead (Peacock Interview)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 15, 2021 3 Comments Continue Reading

Will Texas Legislators Take on Renewable Energy?

By -- May 25, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading