Texas State Government Gets Involved in Correcting ERCOT Billing Error Related to Deadly Winter Storm
Tuesday night, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a simple proclamation adding another emergency item for the 87th Legislative Session, which is meeting through late May.
Specifically, the "...correction of any billing errors related to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)" has been added as an emergency item. The governor's office also notes this emergency item, "...includes any inaccurate excessive charges and any issues regarding ancillary service prices".
This emergency item is in response to February's deadly winter storm that saw ERCOT enact rolling blackouts for one consecutive week. Due to the wide swings of retail electric prices in the state during the storm, there were reports of overbilling almost immediately in the storm's aftermath.
Then, last week, a company contracted by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) reported that ERCOT kept retail electric prices too high for a two day period, ending on February 19. The Texas Tribune reported the billing error amounted to $16 billion.
In various forms and fashions, the overcharge was passed on from electric utilities to their customers within the ERCOT service territory.
WFAA-TV in Dallas reported that Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick supported the move by Governor Abbott, "I am glad Governor Abbott has made correcting ERCOT's two pricing errors an emergency item for this session. Yesterday [March 8] I called on the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and ERCOT to correct the errors identified by the Independent Market Monitor (IMM) and today 28 Texas senators from both parties made the same request.
"This is the right thing to do and it is one important step we can take now to fix what went wrong in the storm," Patrick said.
Lubbock Power & Light is still a part of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), so Tuesday night's proclamation by Governor Abbott will have no impact on LP&L or the other parts of West Texas that are a part of the SPP. But there are some West Texas providers including Xcel Energy, Lyntegar Electric Co-op, and South Plains Electric Co-op, that do operate within ERCOT.
As shown in the map below, ERCOT encompasses the vast majority of Texas, including all of the Metroplex, Texoma, Central Texas, and the Rio Grande Valley.
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