Thanks to deregulation, “rolling blackouts are Texas’ future”
Texas is a frequent poster child for electric deregulation in the United States. However, electric deregulation isn’t working out very well for Texas (click here to read more stories about deregulation in Texas).
Citing the close call for potential rolling outages experienced earlier this week amid sub-freezing temperatures, the ad says Texas could be on a course for “regular rolling blackouts in a just a few short years.”
“We wanted something that would get people’s attention,” said David Knox, a spokesman for NRG Energy, the state’s second largest power generator. “The bottom line is reliability: what does that mean to the state of Texas and the residents.”
Texas, unlike many U.S. states, continues to see growing demand for electricity. Tight financial markets and low wholesale power prices have stalled construction of most new plants in the state’s primary grid, overseen by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
ERCOT has warned that blackouts will be more likely as the amount of surplus electricity in the state dwindles.
The grid agency and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) have made a number of market changes and are studying more radical changes to encourage investment in new power plants.
The debate has simmered for more than two years. Regulators, lawmakers and market participants are now divided over the issue.
Most companies that own generation, like members of Texans for Reliable Power, along with Luminant, Texas’ largest power producer, support creation of a so-called “capacity market” where generators and others are paid to be available in future years.