AUSTIN, Texas - Texans for Fair Energy Billing (TXFEB) demands that Governor Greg Abbott include energy as a topic in the upcoming special session after the Legislature’s failure to pass meaningful reform resulted in more uncertainty surrounding the energy grid.
Gov. Abbott stated in a recent press conference that the "bottom line is that everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas." However, ERCOT’s conservation pleas this week caused many Texans to fear another disaster like the February Freeze, which many are still paying off.
ERCOT's plea for conservation results from high summer temperatures and an unusual number of powerplants offline. The peak-load usage is estimated to be more than 3,000 mWh higher than peak-load usage during Winter Storm Uri.
"Ratepayers are in the same place now that they were less than six months ago. At that time, state leaders told us our grid could handle the heat, but according to ERCOT, that does not seem to be the case," said TXFEB Member Brandon Young.
"State leaders have left Texans in the dark, and it's time we take back our power. Artificially inflated prices devastated ratepayers in February. Unfortunately, without addressing this issue in the Special Session, it could happen again the next time the lights go out," he says.
Without action from Gov. Abbott to make energy and protecting consumers from the financial fallout of grid failure a priority in the upcoming special session, the Texas economy will feel the impact of the 2021 grid failures for decades to come. Energy prices across the state have begun to climb, with prices in Houston jumping from $85 to $1,000 in 10 minutes.
During the 87th Legislative Session, Texas passed SB 3, which called for weatherization of the electric grid but failed to provide a financial mechanism to fund the projects, likely passing the brunt of the cost on to the consumers. To manage the massive debt resulting from ERCOT's erroneous decision to leave energy prices at the $9,000 mWh cap longer than necessary, the Legislature passed HB 4492.
However, in the final hours, a conference committee stripped this bill of a provision that would have allowed financing for the 32 hours from February 17-19 and would have saved Texas ratepayers on costs that have been or will be passed on to them. ERCOT's Independent Market Monitor found there was no need for emergency pricing. In removing this time period, the Legislature guaranteed that $3.2 billion would immediately be tacked to consumers' bills.
TXFEB urges all Texans to join in their demand that Gov. Abbott prioritizes energy reform and relief from the extreme energy overcharges during Winter Storm Uri by contacting him directly at https://mobilize4change.org/xZgKWCV or texting TXFEB to 52886.