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It's Freezing in Texas, please shut the freezer door up north......


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18 hours ago, culdeus said:

Feel like things are still a little funky water wise.  Air getting in the lines. Sort of a delay in getting things to cut on.  Not sure if that's pressure or ice related.

We are noticing some oddities. We never lost water. But now that we are back in the house and I actually took a shower here, I can tell pressure was a little low. Not real bad, but not full pressure. And the wife said the toilet "made noise" when she flushed. I am assuming it was air. I had unplugged the softener and bypassed that. I'm not sure if that is a player or not. But I have checked everything in and around the house (except the attic which I see being mentioned here) and have seen no leaks evident anywhere. Not sure what else I can/should do?

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9 hours ago, Mrs. Rannous said:

I'm so sorry you feel so awful.  This has been the giant suck.

At least you didn't have to give birth in a house with no power or water.

We went and got some hot food from a takeout place today. I ran to the grocery store early to start restocking. Just that little bit of normalcy made us feel worlds better. We now have a fairly fully stocked freezer, milk, eggs, bread, etc. Things are getting better for sure.

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Well, I'm not quite as lucky as I thought. I have a tankless water heater. Went outside a few minutes ago and water was just gushing out of it. Shut off the water. Will wait for a plumber. 

Thank goodness for Juwan Howard - bringing a little sunshine into this dreary winter. #GoBlue

 

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3 hours ago, matuski said:

Pure luck... I'd say every other house on my road had any number of issues with flooding or water heaters or attic/roof leaking. 

Far as I can tell I'm looking no worse for the wear.  Of course typing this wasn't a smart move.

Stupid ###.

Backyard kitchen - pipe under sink busted leaking/spraying all inside the sink/grill/fridge structure. :thumbdown:

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Just now, belljr said:

Could someone break down how this griddy thing is causing peoples bills go from $200 to $3000

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But longer term, she said the power crisis will likely turn into an affordability crisis. The supply chain is bogged down, causing the prices providers pay to spike.

"We saw prices increase initially 7,000% then 10,000% then I thought I saw 16,000%. This is going to be a huge issue for the state,” Gold-Williams said.

 

Basically, they screw up - we pay for it.

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3 hours ago, culdeus said:

I have to think you'll lose water in this as the city gets to you.  Nobody with a serious water main break has avoided that.

Yeah it's just the kind of thing that should be a half-day job. So hopefully shut it off, fix it, turn it on. Fingers crossed, it likely won't work out like that. 

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13 minutes ago, belljr said:

Could someone break down how this griddy thing is causing peoples bills go from $200 to $3000

Griddy is literally just allowing you access to the wholesale market. 

 

In TX, the wholesale market is what generators get paid by retailers, who then charge consumers a price. For example, in a typical TX day in May, your wholesale price translates to like 3 cents/kWh. My retailer charges 9 cents/kWh at all times, and pays me 9 cents/kWh for any solar I sell back to the grid. Some retailers charge like 12.5 cents/kWh on weekdays, and weekends are free. Some places charge you a peak/off peak rate based on time of day.

 

But, for all of these things, even on that typical day in May, the wholesale price increases as businesses start and temperature rises. Now, much of our power supply has been built to ramp up with that demand (wind is at it's most productive the same time that demand is highest, for example, as is solar, and gas is pretty responsive - a GT24B should take like 30-45 minutes to startup and run, and a 7HA might take an hour (GTs are smaller, 7s are bigger - both combined cycle gas style). So the price rises somewhat, but usually not a crazy amount. And depending on that day's wind and sun, sometimes supply will outstrip demand and you'll keep the gas plants down (especially because you never take the nukes offline and you rarely bring down the coal plants). 

HOWEVER, sometimes, an event will cause some supply to come offline AND at the same time demand will spike (this week has been perhaps the most extreme example I've ever seen of this phenomenon). When that happens, and you're exposed to the actual market, the price skyrockets. Usually, TXU energy gets screwed there and still charges you their 9-16 cents/kWh, but if you're buying wholesale, that's literally the risk you signed up for.

 

I know this is a little dumbed down for anyone with like an actual science degree in this, but I've spent a couple years with power generation and distribution clients across the country, and in ERCOT, so have a decent understanding of how it works. 

 

@belljr @matuski adding you since I see you asked while I was typing this up.

Edited by Instinctive
@ing a couple folks for ease of finding this
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Thanks, I guess I just didn't understand the concept.  I pay the same price no matter what. Now it could go up but I'm notified if a change happens but it doesn't fluctuate.  I guess it's similar to here, about 5 years ago?  They allowed consumers to pick their supplier, the thing is I'd still have the same provider but I'd be paying this other supplier. So we would get flooded with people trying to switch us to this other company.

The first year we'd pay x which was 4 cents less than we pay now. I'm sure after that year it would be double...  I just stayed with the gas/electric company.

 

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16 minutes ago, belljr said:

Thanks, I guess I just didn't understand the concept.  I pay the same price no matter what. Now it could go up but I'm notified if a change happens but it doesn't fluctuate.  I guess it's similar to here, about 5 years ago?  They allowed consumers to pick their supplier, the thing is I'd still have the same provider but I'd be paying this other supplier. So we would get flooded with people trying to switch us to this other company.

The first year we'd pay x which was 4 cents less than we pay now. I'm sure after that year it would be double...  I just stayed with the gas/electric company.

 

Griddy charges market prices - the market goes wacky because power is scarce ...that cost gets passed onto their customers.  

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/deep-freeze-subsides-texans-now-face-electricity-bills-10-000-n1258362

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5 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

If you drain the lines, there's not enough water left to expand and burst the pipes. As for turning the water back on, you have to do as needed - then bleed them again. It sucks, but it's better than a flooded house.

Only thing I can think of in terms of turning water back on after it was drained would be if you had some water in the line at a low point that froze, obviously that one little part would not be enough to burst the line, but if it was a complete blockage, turning the water on full blast could cause the air in the line to over pressurize as the water was forced into the pipe and blow something out.

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1 hour ago, belljr said:

Thanks, I guess I just didn't understand the concept.  I pay the same price no matter what. Now it could go up but I'm notified if a change happens but it doesn't fluctuate.  I guess it's similar to here, about 5 years ago?  They allowed consumers to pick their supplier, the thing is I'd still have the same provider but I'd be paying this other supplier. So we would get flooded with people trying to switch us to this other company.

The first year we'd pay x which was 4 cents less than we pay now. I'm sure after that year it would be double...  I just stayed with the gas/electric company.

 

I too pay the same price no matter what. Most people do. 

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4 hours ago, DallasDMac said:

We are noticing some oddities. We never lost water. But now that we are back in the house and I actually took a shower here, I can tell pressure was a little low. Not real bad, but not full pressure. And the wife said the toilet "made noise" when she flushed. I am assuming it was air. I had unplugged the softener and bypassed that. I'm not sure if that is a player or not. But I have checked everything in and around the house (except the attic which I see being mentioned here) and have seen no leaks evident anywhere. Not sure what else I can/should do?

Water pressure will likely be somewhat low for a few days.  Water mains may be broken, and house pipes all over town are broken.  I see on the news that Firefighters in San Antonio had water problems because some of the hydrants didn't have water.  It's just a general thing.  If your house is running normally at this point, you are probably okay.

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2 hours ago, belljr said:

Thanks, I guess I just didn't understand the concept.  I pay the same price no matter what.

I also pay the same price no matter what.  (We use Centerpoint.)  But you can sign up for the spot price market.  When the price of electricity is low, you can save quite a bit.  But it's like roulette- if the price goes up, you pay more.  If the price goes apecrap nuts, you pay a crapton more.  I'm not sure how many people got that bit.  I went for the price is locked-in option.

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7 minutes ago, Mrs. Rannous said:

I also pay the same price no matter what.  (We use Centerpoint.)  But you can sign up for the spot price market.  When the price of electricity is low, you can save quite a bit.  But it's like roulette- if the price goes up, you pay more.  If the price goes apecrap nuts, you pay a crapton more.  I'm not sure how many people got that bit.  I went for the price is locked-in option.

That sounds so crazy to be picking utilty options for your residence.  I kinda like my socialist situation where I have only one well-regulated choice.  

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Some of these fixed price providers are so ####ed too.  If they had a high concentration of people that had power, they were losing years worth of profit on each of them.  There are like 2 dozen of these providers, some won't recover.  

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19 hours ago, culdeus said:

I am really worried about the reports of pipe thaw/burst that is ongoing.  I know of several people severely impacted with water shutoff to homes.  Plumbers don't even want to get started until the ambient is above 50 (Sat PM) and the wait lists are 600-1000 people deep.  

I don't know where people are seeing the pipe issues, maybe Dallas is different than other parts of the state.  

Plumbers have been scarce in Austin for the past 10+ years due to the new construction that is ongoing from everyone moving here. Especially hard to find when you have an emergency. You might get priority service if you sign up for an annual service plan, which is probably a couple hundred $.

Edited by Phil Elliott
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Seems like price gouging to allow that kind of price increase, especially during a crisis when they aren't even providing adequate supply.  I have a feeling this will change in the future as a result of what's happened.

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1 minute ago, gianmarco said:

Seems like price gouging to allow that kind of price increase, especially during a crisis when they aren't even providing adequate supply.  I have a feeling this will change in the future as a result of what's happened.

It shouldn't change, and it isn't price gouging. If you had access to wholesale, you literally bypassed the traditional consumer market, and all the protections it comes with. We don't protect people who short gamestop if the price skyrockets.

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10 minutes ago, Instinctive said:

It shouldn't change, and it isn't price gouging. If you had access to wholesale, you literally bypassed the traditional consumer market, and all the protections it comes with. We don't protect people who short gamestop if the price skyrockets.

The question really is, does the free market for electricity need to look like a meme stonk?  

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13 minutes ago, Instinctive said:

It shouldn't change, and it isn't price gouging. If you had access to wholesale, you literally bypassed the traditional consumer market, and all the protections it comes with. We don't protect people who short gamestop if the price skyrockets.

You obviously are more familiar with this than I am so I'll defer to your knowledge on this. 

Is there a limit to how high they can charge?  I mean, I think I get the overall concept of how this works and what you're describing, and I don't have an issue with the price increase.  My issue, based on what I've seen posted here and read briefly is the amount of the price increase.  It seems like an unreasonable amount.  Especially in a situation like this where it's a crisis and there's a desperate need. 

Edited by gianmarco
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1 minute ago, gianmarco said:

You obviously are more familiar with this than I am so I'll defer to your knowledge on this. 

Is there a limit to how high they can charge?  I mean, I think I get the overall concept of how this works and what you're describing, and I don't have an issue with the price increase.  My issue, based on what I've seen posted here and read briefly is the amount of the price increase.  It seems like an unreasonable amount.  Especially in a situation like this where it's a crisis and there's a desperate need. 

With Griddy it's uncapped.  Completely.  There is no limit, if the price is eleventy billion a kwh, you get that price.

People like Griddy because on summer nights when the temp comes in lower than expected you actually get a negative rate, so if you have a Model 3 or something you can get paid to charge your car up.  

They were slimy enough to stipulate that you couldn't connect grid storage to the system and drain it at a negative.  Though there are those that do it and somehow get away with it.  

I'm installing solar so I looked into some of the funkier setups that were available both for grid and off grid storage in Texas. This was two weeks before this event and was dumfounded at how stupid the rules were and how some people were bound to get burned with the floating rate.  

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15 minutes ago, Instinctive said:

It shouldn't change, and it isn't price gouging. If you had access to wholesale, you literally bypassed the traditional consumer market, and all the protections it comes with. We don't protect people who short gamestop if the price skyrockets.

Seems others think changes will be discussed.

I mean, a 338-fold increase in price seems absurd.  If my normal electric bill was $50 for a month, that would go up to $16,900 for the month.  That's simply not right, IMO.

 

Texas operates an independent grid closed off from the rest of the country. On Wednesday, power prices in Dallas and Fort Worth hit $8,800 per megawatt-hour (MWh), compared with the more typical average of roughly $26 per MWh. Over time, the state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), could impose higher costs to consumers to prepare for subsequent, similar events.

"The wholesale market is allowing record high prices, and those record high prices are eventually going to be paid for by end-consumers," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization.

Blackouts instituted by ERCOT as electric heating demand exceeded forecasts and overwhelmed generation have brought the state's deregulated electricity market sharply into focus.

"Debates about electric policy and energy policy are going to come very soon as this issue is dissected and discussed and analyzed," said Bill Magness, ERCOT chief executive, at a Wednesday press conference.

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Culdy's got it covered. There's definitely a worthy question of whether you should allow people access to wholesale electricity markets at all. But if you do, I think it's pretty much been done correctly. You shouldn't have the same price protections in there as a consumer market...not having those regulations is part of what typically makes the market better priced.

 

If it were me, I would not allow individuals to access the market. They, unlike a full company, simple cannot absorb the downside risk. It is, at the risk of being reductive, similar to some types of investing actions which aren't typically allowed for retail investors to access. They're unsophisticated people without the necessary bankroll or knowledge to support or understand the bets they're making.

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1 minute ago, gianmarco said:

Seems others think changes will be discussed.

I mean, a 338-fold increase in price seems absurd.  If my normal electric bill was $50 for a month, that would go up to $16,900 for the month.  That's simply not right, IMO.

Ok, slow down a bit.   (speaking to griddy) When the prices went up the price you paid for the electricity at that moment went up.  If you were, in fact browned out or turned down your power usage you would have had minimal impact.  

It doesn't charge you for anything you don't actually use, and it doesn't change month to month billing.  In fact, they charge you out in $50 chunks and text you each time you cross the $50 threshold.  

 

1 minute ago, gianmarco said:

Texas operates an independent grid closed off from the rest of the country. On Wednesday, power prices in Dallas and Fort Worth hit $8,800 per megawatt-hour (MWh), compared with the more typical average of roughly $26 per MWh. Over time, the state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), could impose higher costs to consumers to prepare for subsequent, similar events.

"The wholesale market is allowing record high prices, and those record high prices are eventually going to be paid for by end-consumers," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization.

Blackouts instituted by ERCOT as electric heating demand exceeded forecasts and overwhelmed generation have brought the state's deregulated electricity market sharply into focus.

"Debates about electric policy and energy policy are going to come very soon as this issue is dissected and discussed and analyzed," said Bill Magness, ERCOT chief executive, at a Wednesday press conference.

Yes, this could have downstream impacts because the fixed rate operators got charged the griddy rates for someone like me that was sold 8c kwh (while my power was actually on....) and they got the $5 kwh charge on it.  

I'm putting panels on as fast as humanly possible now and will likely do grid storage as well.  

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17 minutes ago, gianmarco said:

I mean, a 338-fold increase in price seems absurd.  If my normal electric bill was $50 for a month, that would go up to $16,900 for the month.  That's simply not right, IMO.

This is exactly my point. In a wholesale market, that's exactly right. That's the risk you're taking by intentionally bypassing the retail market, which has price protections like you normally see in consumer markets. If you were on Griddy, you said "I want to trade those protections for a lower expected price alongside the risk of really high spikes sometimes."

 

Obviously, people don't understand that risk. I would be all for not allowing them to access wholesale. But if you do access wholesale, it worked exactly as it should. You fully expose yourself to supply/demand price changes, love the benefits when electricity is super cheap or free, but now you want to bail when the other end comes due. (the general you, not you specifically good buddy).

Edited by Instinctive
supple -> supply typo
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Let's put it this way.  My solar system is estimated to come in at 13.5kwh and my house on average burns 12.  So I've got 1.5 kwh of surplus on a typical day.  

I have two options in Texas.  I can store it.  Or sell it back, at the same rate I paid for it.  

The storage option has the benefit of in a situation where the grid browns out I still get power.

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2 minutes ago, Instinctive said:

This is exactly my point. In a wholesale market, that's exactly right. That's the risk you're taking by intentionally bypassing the retail market, which has price protections like you normally see in consumer markets. If you were on Griddy, you said "I want to trade those protections for a lower expected price alongside the risk of really high spikes sometimes."

 

Obviously, people don't understand that risk. I would be all for not allowing them to access wholesale. But if you do access wholesale, it worked exactly as it should. You fully expose yourself to supple/demand price changes, love the benefits when electricity is super cheap or free, but now you want to bail when the other end comes due. (the general you, not you specifically good buddy).

I understand, thanks for clarifying (and @culdeus)

Yeah, like you said, the issue is more of this even being allowed than what is actually happening after it's in place.

Electricity is not a "luxury" and too many can't afford the downside of what just happened.  I hope changes come. 

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5 hours ago, Instinctive said:

This is exactly my point. In a wholesale market, that's exactly right. That's the risk you're taking by intentionally bypassing the retail market, which has price protections like you normally see in consumer markets. If you were on Griddy, you said "I want to trade those protections for a lower expected price alongside the risk of really high spikes sometimes."

 

Obviously, people don't understand that risk. I would be all for not allowing them to access wholesale. But if you do access wholesale, it worked exactly as it should. You fully expose yourself to supply/demand price changes, love the benefits when electricity is super cheap or free, but now you want to bail when the other end comes due. (the general you, not you specifically good buddy).

The downside of deregulation.

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5 hours ago, culdeus said:

Let's put it this way.  My solar system is estimated to come in at 13.5kwh and my house on average burns 12.  So I've got 1.5 kwh of surplus on a typical day.  

I have two options in Texas.  I can store it.  Or sell it back, at the same rate I paid for it.  

The storage option has the benefit of in a situation where the grid browns out I still get power.

What company are you going with on solar?

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Ok, so things going sideways again now.  Water pressure down dramatically at my house and the smell of the water is pretty bad. Called it into the city and they say they are looking at several water main breaks but so far no boil notice.  neat.

 

FWIW my pool stuff looks ok ish.  I'll probably wait till tomorrow to fire it up completely.  

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44 minutes ago, Binky The Doormat said:

please explain this.

It definitely goes back to the deregulation of 2005, when Rick "The Hair" Perry was gov.  Instead of a single provider being available, Texans got the "privilege" of shopping the marketplace for one.  Sometimes you get cheaper electricity, sometimes the shaft.  It's like going to a restaurant and buying fish at market price without checking what that price actually is.

The act also made it not worthwhile to build new plants or upgrade older ones.  We just kept the crap.  That's why Perry was made Energy Secretary.

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3 hours ago, culdeus said:

Ok, so things going sideways again now.  Water pressure down dramatically at my house and the smell of the water is pretty bad. Called it into the city and they say they are looking at several water main breaks but so far no boil notice.  neat.

 

FWIW my pool stuff looks ok ish.  I'll probably wait till tomorrow to fire it up completely.  

A couple of exterior PVC pipes running to/from the pump broke, but the pump survived and I think the only breaks are in the open air (easy to freeze, but easy to fix.) Our makeshift tenting and kerosene lantern likely saved the pump itself.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Mrs. Rannous said:

It definitely goes back to the deregulation of 2005, when Rick "The Hair" Perry was gov.  Instead of a single provider being available, Texans got the "privilege" of shopping the marketplace for one.  Sometimes you get cheaper electricity, sometimes the shaft.  It's like going to a restaurant and buying fish at market price without checking what that price actually is.

The act also made it not worthwhile to build new plants or upgrade older ones.  We just kept the crap.  That's why Perry was made Energy Secretary.

Yes those crabs claws were $45 last week, but this week they're $18,400. You should have asked before ordering.

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Why aren't all energy companies here required to have sufficient LPNG stored on site, so that they could do a quick conversion when problems happen. Not only is the system fragile and unmaintained, they tell us that when it completely shuts down it could take weeks or months to restore. This seem inordinately stupid.

Edited by cosjobs
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43 minutes ago, Mrs. Rannous said:

It definitely goes back to the deregulation of 2005, when Rick "The Hair" Perry was gov.  Instead of a single provider being available, Texans got the "privilege" of shopping the marketplace for one.  Sometimes you get cheaper electricity, sometimes the shaft.  It's like going to a restaurant and buying fish at market price without checking what that price actually is.

The act also made it not worthwhile to build new plants or upgrade older ones.  We just kept the crap.  That's why Perry was made Energy Secretary.

thanks - yeah, it seemed like matuski was saying that and Instinctive was saying that wasn't the case.

 

2 hours ago, Instinctive said:
3 hours ago, matuski said:

The downside of deregulation.

not really?

 

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I mean I can see tons of arguments for how deregulation is a potential culprit for the failure itself. But people gambling on savings without understanding the consequences isn't a downside to me. That's what I disagree with in the post above.

 

The downsides are things like not requiring enough reserve capacity, because reserve capacity generally isn't profitable and deregulated markets mean you govern with a profit motive. People deciding they'd rather subject themselves to swings in wholesale pricing rather than pay the slight extra cost for retail safety isn't a downside to me. Those people should lose a ####load of money. And learn a lesson.

 

I think the answer isn't to switch to a fully regulated market like the rest of the country, personally. I think the answer would be to keep a "deregulated grid" overall, but add some clear and obvious protections via specific regulations. The other problem with having this discussion is that ERCOT isn't really "deregulated" - it's a total misnomer. It's definitely regulated. It just isn't more or less state owned with state set prices. The pricing is deregulated, they grid still has regulations. Just not as many or the right ones as it should.

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4 minutes ago, Instinctive said:

I mean I can see tons of arguments for how deregulation is a potential culprit for the failure itself. But people gambling on savings without understanding the consequences isn't a downside to me. That's what I disagree with in the post above.

 

The downsides are things like not requiring enough reserve capacity, because reserve capacity generally isn't profitable and deregulated markets mean you govern with a profit motive. People deciding they'd rather subject themselves to swings in wholesale pricing rather than pay the slight extra cost for retail safety isn't a downside to me. Those people should lose a ####load of money. And learn a lesson.

 

I think the answer isn't to switch to a fully regulated market like the rest of the country, personally. I think the answer would be to keep a "deregulated grid" overall, but add some clear and obvious protections via specific regulations. The other problem with having this discussion is that ERCOT isn't really "deregulated" - it's a total misnomer. It's definitely regulated. It just isn't more or less state owned with state set prices. The pricing is deregulated, they grid still has regulations. Just not as many or the right ones as it should.

thanks - well said.

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