Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a coalition of state senators want Texas regulators to reprice electricity costs from February’s winter storm. The call comes after a report by an independent market monitor calculated the grid manager overcharged power companies $16 billion due to irregular pricing. In Texas, the grid manager is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
Electricity prices shot up to the $9,000 per megawatt-hour cap in February. This was after more than 30 gigawatts of capacity went offline due to the cold temperatures. Millions of people lost power for several days, and more than 100 died due to the extreme weather and collapse of infrastructure. In the days after the storm, some electricity customers with variable-rate plans received energy bills of up to $20,000.
Patrick and his supporters argue that ERCOT maintained the high prices for two days longer than necessary. They want ERCOT to revise the electricity prices to a normal level for 32 hours on February 18 and 19. Lawmakers say this would allow power companies to recoup $4.2 billion.
ERCOT CEO Bill Magness, who has since been fired, said in early March that retaining the high prices was necessary to incentivize generators to continue producing electricity to meet high demand.