News: Texas House leader signals opposition to retroactive power price cuts.
(Reuters) – The Texas House of Representatives chairman signaled Tuesday that he would not support obliging the state’s grid operator to save billions of dollars in electricity prices during a cold snap that weighed on the state’s electricity market.
On Monday, the Senate approved a proposal to order the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to cut electricity bills for electricity marketers during a February freeze. The proposal would cut fees by about $ 5.1 billion, including $ 900 million in fee cuts already approved by the PUC.
Electricity costs soared to $ 47 billion, bankrupting three Texas electricity companies and sparking a battle between lawmakers and the PUC to manage the crisis.
The decision to keep the wholesale prices for electricity at around 400 times the normal price is “a proactive decision and not a mistake,” said House spokesman Dade Phelan in a tweet.
The state’s independent market advisor has cited the decision to keep prices high for the past 32 hours as a mistake that could be corrected and will help urban and rural utilities. According to advisor Carrie Bivens, lowering a few rates could eliminate around $ 4.2 billion in overburdening.
However, Phelan said the decisions to keep rates high in the hours after the disaster ended were “made on the basis of ensuring the reliability of the network”. High prices could even have saved lives by preventing power outages when industrial customers resumed business, he said.
Revising those 32 hours of a five-day event would be “an extraordinary encroachment on the free market that could have significant consequences,” he said.
Spokesmen for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who supported the reassessment bill, and Senator Bryan Hughes, who drafted the Senate bill, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Adaptation by Leslie Adler
Original Source © Reuters