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On 2/19/2021 at 9:44 AM, MTskibum said:

 

This event happened in 1989, 2011, and 2021, lets assume that this event will continue at the same rate as in the past, every 15 years.

The average centerpoint customer pays 1,860 per year, which is 28,000 dollars over a 15 year period.

A 5% increase in price would be 1400 dollars over that period, I think that is too much and anything more would be a non-starter. For 1400 dollars someone could buy a 7000 watt generator and mitigate the risk on their side. Plus this generator would also help with hurricane power loss, whereas insulating the gas wells and lines in the gas power plants would not help with hurricane power loss.

 

Spending money on a generator, solar/storage, etc would be a better use of consumer dollars because it covers a wider range of scenarios.

 

 

You know, I've been thinking about this.  I agree with the concept in principle but something just doesn't sit right.

1. Who makes the cost/benefit decision?  What gives you the right to decide it's not better for me to not have power once a decade, in the name of saving 5%?  Depending on the circumstance, that once a decade time without power could be life or death.  Yes, I could buy a generator but how is that supposed to work, given people move on average once every 5 years? Do generators move with the person, or stay with the house? What about people who live in an apartment?  What about those who just moved and didn't know that the power was unstable?

2. Were power customers made aware that their service providers made this determination to not winterize their stations?  Seems only fair that service providers should warn their customers that, in order to keep rates low, they would not guarantee service if it gets too cold.  Especially given that this isn't a problem anywhere else in the country, no one would not assume this would be an issue.

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YAY capitalism! IMO, there are certain segments of society that should not be run on a profit basis.  We are ok with socialized national defense, law enforcement, fire protection, k-12 education,

WTF?  I wrote all the WHILE people are freezing to death. While, not white. 

You know, I've been thinking about this.  I agree with the concept in principle but something just doesn't sit right. 1. Who makes the cost/benefit decision?  What gives you the right to decide i

1 hour ago, moleculo said:

You know, I've been thinking about this.  I agree with the concept in principle but something just doesn't sit right.

1. Who makes the cost/benefit decision?  What gives you the right to decide it's not better for me to not have power once a decade, in the name of saving 5%?  Depending on the circumstance, that once a decade time without power could be life or death.  Yes, I could buy a generator but how is that supposed to work, given people move on average once every 5 years? Do generators move with the person, or stay with the house? What about people who live in an apartment?  What about those who just moved and didn't know that the power was unstable?

2. Were power customers made aware that their service providers made this determination to not winterize their stations?  Seems only fair that service providers should warn their customers that, in order to keep rates low, they would not guarantee service if it gets too cold.  Especially given that this isn't a problem anywhere else in the country, no one would not assume this would be an issue.

Ultimately all high level grid decisions are traced back to the state legislature, including rates and services.

Governors appoint commissioners to a state agency (public utility commission, i.e. PUC) which designs and enforces regulations that oversee system operators (e.g. ERCOT), which are responsible for operating the grid as per the state physical and market design.

Individual power customers don't have a say in decisions regarding cost/benefit, generator winterization, who gets/doesn't get power during a rolling blackout, etc. (Unless they show up at PUC hearings.)

Works pretty much the same in every state.

Currently the Texas PUC does not require winterization of power generators.

So if Texans want this going forward, legislators will have to give mandate to PUC to develop and enforce winterization regs.

It will result in higher prices which will be passed through to rate payers.

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p.s. Most states generally have stricter resiliency (e.g. winterization) requirements since their grids cross state lines and are therefore more subject to oversight by the feds. Texas grid is purely intrastate. Feds as recently as 2011 made exhaustive winterization recommendations but Texas told them to pound sand.

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I was watching Fox News Sunday about this subject this morning because Bill Gates was on. At one point Chris Wallace said “You know when you talk about climate change, I have to tell you there are millions of people watching this show, part of our normal viewership, who believe that climate change is a myth.” 
 

What an embarrassing admission. 

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9 hours ago, Stoneworker said:

Ultimately all high level grid decisions are traced back to the state legislature, including rates and services.

Governors appoint commissioners to a state agency (public utility commission, i.e. PUC) which designs and enforces regulations that oversee system operators (e.g. ERCOT), which are responsible for operating the grid as per the state physical and market design.

Individual power customers don't have a say in decisions regarding cost/benefit, generator winterization, who gets/doesn't get power during a rolling blackout, etc. (Unless they show up at PUC hearings.)

Works pretty much the same in every state.

Currently the Texas PUC does not require winterization of power generators.

So if Texans want this going forward, legislators will have to give mandate to PUC to develop and enforce winterization regs.

It will result in higher prices which will be passed through to rate payers.

Thanks. 

If I were a Texan, is be demanding everyone on the PUC be sacked for failing to prepare for a likely event (I.e. once a decade is a likely event, IMO).  I would be embarrassed that the same weather conditions a majority of the country sees on a yearly basis van be so catastrophic.

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4 minutes ago, massraider said:

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/02/21/politics/texas-utility-bills-michael-mccaul-cnntv/index.html

Excuse me? Federal disaster funds used to pay electric bills? 

This won't get touched by the usual "SOCIALISM!!!!!!!!" guys but there is a significant irony here of a pretty capitalistic model having to get bailed out by the "socialism" they are so fearful of.  It can also be looked at through the same lens of college loan repayments.  It seems if they are against this sort of thing for loans because "bad choices" then they'd be against this as well.....again, they won't touch this, but it's funny to watch the shifting.

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11 minutes ago, The Commish said:

This won't get touched by the usual "SOCIALISM!!!!!!!!" guys but there is a significant irony here of a pretty capitalistic model having to get bailed out by the "socialism" they are so fearful of.  It can also be looked at through the same lens of college loan repayments.  It seems if they are against this sort of thing for loans because "bad choices" then they'd be against this as well.....again, they won't touch this, but it's funny to watch the shifting.

I am not sure if this congressman is correct, but that is certainly not what FEMA funds are intended for. 

Federal funds because a STATE grid, purposely kept disconnected from the rest of the country, collapsed and the de-regulated (by Bush) free market gouges their customers? 

I don't want of these Americans to pay any of these ridiculous bills, but the state should be handling that debt. 

If it comes down to it, fine with me to use federal tax dollars, there are Texans who would lose life savings for a month of electricity. But Texas needs to handle this. 

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On 2/21/2021 at 1:46 AM, 2Squirrels1Nut said:

This is freaking insanity on several levels and this poor guy is one of thousands in this position 

His Lights Stayed on During Texas’ Storm. Now He Owes $16,752.

I get the instant emotional outcry here, but he gambled and lost.  He was getting cheaper rates, which was why he signed up with that service (my reading there is he had a choice of providers, if this is incorrect my perspective would change), this is the possible downside of that.  Same as saying when someone was making money when the stock market goes up it is great, but whining for a bailout when it collapses.  

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22 minutes ago, Bogeys said:
On 2/21/2021 at 2:46 AM, 2Squirrels1Nut said:

This is freaking insanity on several levels and this poor guy is one of thousands in this position 

His Lights Stayed on During Texas’ Storm. Now He Owes $16,752.

I get the instant emotional outcry here, but he gambled and lost.  He was getting cheaper rates, which was why he signed up with that service (my reading there is he had a choice of providers, if this is incorrect my perspective would change), this is the possible downside of that.  Same as saying when someone was making money when the stock market goes up it is great, but whining for a bailout when it collapses.  

YAY capitalism!

IMO, there are certain segments of society that should not be run on a profit basis.  We are ok with socialized national defense, law enforcement, fire protection, k-12 education, and road maintenance. IMO we should include utilitites/infrastructure and health care as well...the above is a prime example why.

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3 minutes ago, moleculo said:

YAY capitalism!

IMO, there are certain segments of society that should not be run on a profit basis.  We are ok with socialized national defense, law enforcement, fire protection, k-12 education, and road maintenance. IMO we should include utilitites/infrastructure and health care as well...the above is a prime example why.

Exactly this @Bogeys

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28 minutes ago, Bogeys said:

I get the instant emotional outcry here, but he gambled and lost.  He was getting cheaper rates, which was why he signed up with that service (my reading there is he had a choice of providers, if this is incorrect my perspective would change), this is the possible downside of that.  Same as saying when someone was making money when the stock market goes up it is great, but whining for a bailout when it collapses.  

Hmm...I don't think anyone who signed up could have imagined a 16k downside even as a worse case scenario.

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15 minutes ago, moleculo said:

YAY capitalism!

IMO, there are certain segments of society that should not be run on a profit basis.  We are ok with socialized national defense, law enforcement, fire protection, k-12 education, and road maintenance. IMO we should include utilitites/infrastructure and health care as well...the above is a prime example why.

I agree with you that utilities should be strictly infrastructure and should be socialized. 

But if you are taking the advantage that comes with the "yay capitalism" part (lower prices when the market is down), you have to take the downsides.  I don't believe in capitalize the profit and socialize the loss, which is what is being called for in this case.  The only difference to me on this issue vs wall street bailouts is scale.  

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12 minutes ago, squistion said:

Hmm...I don't think anyone who signed up could have imagined a 16k downside even as a worse case scenario.

That's on them then. 

I agree the total is outsized and the way it is done in the Texas energy market shouldn't be allowed.  I wouldn't be adverse to some kind of meet in the middle arrangement.

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Just now, Bogeys said:

That's on them then. 

I agree the total is outsized and the way it is done in the Texas energy market shouldn't be allowed.  I wouldn't be adverse to some kind of meet in the middle arrangement.

It shouldn't be IMO. People should not be held accountable for a scenario that was not remotely foreseeable by anyone who signed up for this plan. 

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i can choose my power provider? or is this some special plan this guy signed up for?  sorry the article is behind the paywall.

Edited by joffer
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10 minutes ago, squistion said:

It shouldn't be IMO. People should not be held accountable for a scenario that was not remotely foreseeable by anyone who signed up for this plan. 

I agree with on that it shouldn't, I am just dealing with what actually is in this situation.  

Of course it was a possibility that was foreseeable, the scale makes it a possible .001% chance.  Customers of this particular set-up (which again, I agree shouldn't have been allowed in a utility market) bet they would come out ahead more than if they signed up with a service that wasn't as price volatile...and they lost that bet.

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The knee-jerk "socialize the grid" crowd needs to be careful what they wish for. That's going backward.

The only way out of climate change/toward clean energy is by going in the exact opposite direction. I.e. democratizing the grid. Citizens need more autonomy/control over their time-of-day energy use, if/when to plug their EV into the grid for re-charging, whether they should buy their own solar storage or use the grid, etc.

In computing, at first there were huge mainframes and dumb terminals. Eventually distributed and networked computing emerged because it's inherently a more powerful model.

The old grid was built to minimize cost and maximize reliability. Those two things are going to take some hits along the way if we're to actually make a clean transition and stop just talking about it.

 

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17 minutes ago, Stoneworker said:

The knee-jerk "socialize the grid" crowd needs to be careful what they wish for. That's going backward.

The only way out of climate change/toward clean energy is by going in the exact opposite direction. I.e. democratizing the grid. Citizens need more autonomy/control over their time-of-day energy use, if/when to plug their EV into the grid for re-charging, whether they should buy their own solar storage or use the grid, etc.

In computing, at first there were huge mainframes and dumb terminals. Eventually distributed and networked computing emerged because it's inherently a more powerful model.

The old grid was built to minimize cost and maximize reliability. Those two things are going to take some hits along the way if we're to actually make a clean transition and stop just talking about it.

 

There are citizens that could make such informed decisions about their energy needs, but they would be the minority.   Given people choices they aren't really well enough informed to make is how you end up with 20K bills for a weeks of energy.   We shouldn't be allowing markets where there are real information gaps between the parties.  Whether it be electricity, or health care, or home mortgages of a dozen years ago, of food from a century ago.  In other words we really should stop calling exploitation "choice".

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1 hour ago, squistion said:

It shouldn't be IMO. People should not be held accountable for a scenario that was not remotely foreseeable by anyone who signed up for this plan. 

Agree.  Same thing with people that get stuck under predatory loans.  The general populace will sign anything without reading or understanding what they are signing.  Happy to see @Bogeys agrees.

 

"Click here to save 5% on your electric bill!!" 

 

 

 

Small print:

"During shortages prices could fluctuate up to and including the ceiling amount per kilowatt hour" 

Translated:

"Your bill could go up 10,000% after the fact but that probably won't happen"

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7 minutes ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

There are citizens that could make such informed decisions about their energy needs, but they would be the minority.   Given people choices they aren't really well enough informed to make is how you end up with 20K bills for a weeks of energy.   We shouldn't be allowing markets where there are real information gaps between the parties.  Whether it be electricity, or health care, or home mortgages of a dozen years ago, of food from a century ago.  In other words we really should stop calling exploitation "choice".

Right. If you are too uneducated and make such a foolish decision "too bad".  It's really disgusting. 

Edited by 2Squirrels1Nut
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15 minutes ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

There are citizens that could make such informed decisions about their energy needs, but they would be the minority.   Given people choices they aren't really well enough informed to make is how you end up with 20K bills for a weeks of energy.   We shouldn't be allowing markets where there are real information gaps between the parties.  Whether it be electricity, or health care, or home mortgages of a dozen years ago, of food from a century ago.  In other words we really should stop calling exploitation "choice".

20K bills for a week is a clear market failure. There will be a class action suit, no one will end up paying those bills, and appropriate consumer protection backstops/caps/disclosures will be put in place.

As far as the rest of the Orwellian paternalism...just wow...count me out.

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50 minutes ago, Stoneworker said:

20K bills for a week is a clear market failure. There will be a class action suit, no one will end up paying those bills, and appropriate consumer protection backstops/caps/disclosures will be put in place.

As far as the rest of the Orwellian paternalism...just wow...count me out.

People have already paid them

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1 hour ago, 2Squirrels1Nut said:

Agree.  Same thing with people that get stuck under predatory loans.  The general populace will sign anything without reading or understanding what they are signing.  Happy to see @Bogeys agrees.

 

"Click here to save 5% on your electric bill!!" 

 

 

 

Small print:

"During shortages prices could fluctuate up to and including the ceiling amount per kilowatt hour" 

Translated:

"Your bill could go up 10,000% after the fact but that probably won't happen"

I agree that small print always favors the corporation/entity you are doing business with and most will not read it.  But there has to be some responsibility on the person signing the agreements part also.  When it is something like electricity (where people could actually die if they are on oxygen or couldn't get out of a freezing/too hot for habitation house for whatever reason) then I think monopoly and reliability make much more sense than a free market that will always maximize profits.

Of course, that is assuming you have a choice.  Monopoly markets are a whole different ballgame and my opinion on those would require heavy government regulation.

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16 minutes ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

People have already paid them

Then they were dumb to do so. Plus your statement is incredibly misleading to imply "everyone has already paid them" given the billing/payment cycles of most utilities.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Sunday that the Public Utility Commission of Texas will order a hold on power disconnections for nonpayment after thousands of people received massive bills following a winter storm that resulted in service disruptions to millions last week. 

"The current plan is that the federal assistance will help homeowners, both with the repair ... and with the utilities' cost," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on Sunday. 

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/539823-texas-governor-blocks-power-companies-from-disconnecting-service-over

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1 hour ago, Bogeys said:

I agree that small print always favors the corporation/entity you are doing business with and most will not read it.  But there has to be some responsibility on the person signing the agreements part also.  When it is something like electricity (where people could actually die if they are on oxygen or couldn't get out of a freezing/too hot for habitation house for whatever reason) then I think monopoly and reliability make much more sense than a free market that will always maximize profits.

Of course, that is assuming you have a choice.  Monopoly markets are a whole different ballgame and my opinion on those would require heavy government regulation.

I agree, sort of.  Personally I hate big brother government telling me what I can and can't do.  On the other hand there are millions of vulnerable people who aren't able or capable to understand how certain things work and should be protected. 

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1 hour ago, Stoneworker said:

Then they were dumb to do so. Plus your statement is incredibly misleading to imply "everyone has already paid them" given the billing/payment cycles of most utilities.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Sunday that the Public Utility Commission of Texas will order a hold on power disconnections for nonpayment after thousands of people received massive bills following a winter storm that resulted in service disruptions to millions last week. 

"The current plan is that the federal assistance will help homeowners, both with the repair ... and with the utilities' cost," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on Sunday. 

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/539823-texas-governor-blocks-power-companies-from-disconnecting-service-over

I'm at a lost in reconciling your position.  You seem okay to have unregulated (i.e. you reject Orwellian paternalism) markets where unsuspecting consumers accept far more risk that they realize with their "too good to be true" energy choice.  (Or some other choice.)  But then you seem okay to have these consumers file lawsuits against their providers (and presumably others) to get out of paying exorbitant bills.  Based on?  Seems to me the providers lived up to their end of the deal and bought energy at wholesale prices for their customers and passed the bill along.  Just as the contract says.  In addition you seem to be okay with federal taxpayers in the other 49 states paying to bail out Texas utilities and Texas consumers when their free market gambles backfire.

I'm guessing I'm mixing and matching your philosophies with what should happen with your explanations as to what will happen, but I'm struggling to figure out where one ends and the other begins.  My philosophy is that if we aren't going to let consumers drown when they get too far in over their heads like this then it is cheaper for the rest of us to either keep them out of the deep end to begin with or to strap them into the life vest before we need to rescue them.  If that  is "Orwellian paternalism" then so be it.  

Edited by Bottomfeeder Sports
Change "Taxes" consumers to "Texas" consumers
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1 hour ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

I'm at a lost in reconciling your position.  You seem okay to have unregulated (i.e. you reject Orwellian paternalism) markets where unsuspecting consumers accept far more risk that they realize with their "too good to be true" energy choice.  (Or some other choice.)  But then you seem okay to have these consumers file lawsuits against their providers (and presumably others) to get out of paying exorbitant bills.  Based on?  Seems to me the providers lived up to their end of the deal and bought energy at wholesale prices for their customers and passed the bill along.  Just as the contract says.  In addition you seem to be okay with federal taxpayers in the other 49 states paying to bail out Texas utilities and Texas consumers when their free market gambles backfire.

I'm guessing I'm mixing and matching your philosophies with what should happen with your explanations as to what will happen, but I'm struggling to figure out where one ends and the other begins.  My philosophy is that if we aren't going to let consumers drown when they get too far in over their heads like this then it is cheaper for the rest of us to either keep them out of the deep end to begin with or to strap them into the life vest before we need to rescue them.  If that  is "Orwellian paternalism" then so be it.  

Every industry in the country is a varying mix of free market principles and regulation.

For 100 years the electric utility industry was built and optimized around three primary attributes: 1) low and stable cost, 2) near-perfect reliability and 3) universal access. The explicit tradeoff to utilities was to give them a monopoly and virtually guaranteed ROI in exchange for strict and heavy regulation.

But now we want 100% renewable energy as the source of power...all the while keeping the other good parts (e.g. reliability) exactly in tact? It's just an engineering impossibility to make this clean energy shift without fundamentally changing the industry mix between free market principles and regulation.

For example, if the U.S. wants 50 million rooftop solar panels, then by definition power will no longer flow in one direction...what were formerly strictly consumers of electricity will now also be producers....utilities will have to design a market that determines prices not based not on what the government-controlled PUC decides...but 50 million power producers will demand they get the highest price the market will bear.

Rinse and repeat for plugging in EV's to the grid, hooking up appliances to the Internet of Things for energy efficiency, etc.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Stoneworker said:

Then they were dumb to do so. Plus your statement is incredibly misleading to imply "everyone has already paid them" given the billing/payment cycles of most utilities.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Sunday that the Public Utility Commission of Texas will order a hold on power disconnections for nonpayment after thousands of people received massive bills following a winter storm that resulted in service disruptions to millions last week. 

"The current plan is that the federal assistance will help homeowners, both with the repair ... and with the utilities' cost," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on Sunday. 

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/539823-texas-governor-blocks-power-companies-from-disconnecting-service-over

Some of those who have already paid had it automatically taken out of their accounts. They weren’t given a choice. 

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15 minutes ago, Stoneworker said:

Every industry in the country is a varying mix of free market principles and regulation.

For 100 years the electric utility industry was built and optimized around three primary attributes: 1) low and stable cost, 2) near-perfect reliability and 3) universal access. The explicit tradeoff to utilities was to give them a monopoly and virtually guaranteed ROI in exchange for strict and heavy regulation.

But now we want 100% renewable energy as the source of power...all the while keeping the other good parts (e.g. reliability) exactly in tact? It's just an engineering impossibility to make this clean energy shift without fundamentally changing the industry mix between free market principles and regulation.

For example, if the U.S. wants 50 million rooftop solar panels, then by definition power will no longer flow in one direction...what were formerly strictly consumers of electricity will now also be producers....utilities will have to design a market that determines prices not based not on what the government-controlled PUC decides...but 50 million power producers will demand they get the highest price the market will bear.

Rinse and repeat for plugging in EV's to the grid, hooking up appliances to the Internet of Things for energy efficiency, etc.

 

 

I'm struggling to see why it's an engineering impossibility.

Also, I'd like to challenge the above statement in green...why?  How could solar panel power producers sell excess electricity on an open market bypassing the power grid that the PUC controls?  it seems to me that they (producers) would have to play by the same rules that traditional power companies play by.  it's not like they can do an end-around and sell to someone else without transmitting over existing infrastructure.

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8 hours ago, Bogeys said:

I get the instant emotional outcry here, but he gambled and lost.  He was getting cheaper rates, which was why he signed up with that service (my reading there is he had a choice of providers, if this is incorrect my perspective would change), this is the possible downside of that.  Same as saying when someone was making money when the stock market goes up it is great, but whining for a bailout when it collapses.  

Sooooo...did the paperwork/email/whatever explaining these service options inform him of this (not-so) remote possibility of a 1000% un-announced rate hike?

Sorry.....this shouldn't be remotely possible.

This is absolutely an example of conservatism gone wrong. Texas made it's choices, and this is part of the result.

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1 hour ago, Stoneworker said:

Every industry in the country is a varying mix of free market principles and regulation.

For 100 years the electric utility industry was built and optimized around three primary attributes: 1) low and stable cost, 2) near-perfect reliability and 3) universal access. The explicit tradeoff to utilities was to give them a monopoly and virtually guaranteed ROI in exchange for strict and heavy regulation.

But now we want 100% renewable energy as the source of power...all the while keeping the other good parts (e.g. reliability) exactly in tact? It's just an engineering impossibility to make this clean energy shift without fundamentally changing the industry mix between free market principles and regulation.

For example, if the U.S. wants 50 million rooftop solar panels, then by definition power will no longer flow in one direction...what were formerly strictly consumers of electricity will now also be producers....utilities will have to design a market that determines prices not based not on what the government-controlled PUC decides...but 50 million power producers will demand they get the highest price the market will bear.

Rinse and repeat for plugging in EV's to the grid, hooking up appliances to the Internet of Things for energy efficiency, etc.

 

 

There seems to be a disconnect.  I think that you are saying that every everyday consumer of energy needs to be an expert in most of the peculiarities of energy production and distribution for there to be a different mix of power production and consumption than what has existed in the recent past? Otherwise their $20K bill is on them? Or the entire thing collapses?   I don't want to be putting "words in your mouth" or asking you to defend a position that isn't your position, but I am struggling because while I consider what you are (or at least seem to be) suggesting possible I don't think it is by any stretch feasible.  And since we are talking about Texas these solar panels flowing both ways and wind turbines and electric vehicles and such are all here now.  Maybe not in the size and scope of what is coming, but still already here.  If anything in my mind this changing mix based on societal goals rather profits demands more regulation rather than less.   I think the experience of the past week reinforces this.  I doubt it happens though.

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Silly question....what were the previous "normal" energy rates in Texas on these plans and how did they compare to the rest of the (more highly regulated but also inter-connected and more reliable) country? Did Texans enjoy significantly cheaper power then the rest of us?

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19 hours ago, Stoneworker said:

Ultimately all high level grid decisions are traced back to the state legislature, including rates and services.

Governors appoint commissioners to a state agency (public utility commission, i.e. PUC) which designs and enforces regulations that oversee system operators (e.g. ERCOT), which are responsible for operating the grid as per the state physical and market design.

Individual power customers don't have a say in decisions regarding cost/benefit, generator winterization, who gets/doesn't get power during a rolling blackout, etc. (Unless they show up at PUC hearings.)

Works pretty much the same in every state.

Currently the Texas PUC does not require winterization of power generators.

So if Texans want this going forward, legislators will have to give mandate to PUC to develop and enforce winterization regs.

It will result in higher prices which will be passed through to rate payers.

We work in the same industry 🤝

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9 hours ago, moleculo said:

Thanks. 

If I were a Texan, is be demanding everyone on the PUC be sacked for failing to prepare for a likely event (I.e. once a decade is a likely event, IMO).  I would be embarrassed that the same weather conditions a majority of the country sees on a yearly basis van be so catastrophic.

The utility industry has been stripped to the bone for profitability.

Yet another industry (like health care) which suffers from being publicly traded.  Thats not the only reason though, there are still some state and federally owned utilities who are also fighting profitability.

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7 hours ago, squistion said:
7 hours ago, Bogeys said:

That's on them then. 

I agree the total is outsized and the way it is done in the Texas energy market shouldn't be allowed.  I wouldn't be adverse to some kind of meet in the middle arrangement.

It shouldn't be IMO. People should not be held accountable for a scenario that was not remotely foreseeable by anyone who signed up for this plan. 

Absolutely.  And so should companies.  "Have 6 months of a rainy day fund."  That should apply to everyone and every company.

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6 hours ago, Stoneworker said:

The knee-jerk "socialize the grid" crowd needs to be careful what they wish for. That's going backward.

The only way out of climate change/toward clean energy is by going in the exact opposite direction. I.e. democratizing the grid. Citizens need more autonomy/control over their time-of-day energy use, if/when to plug their EV into the grid for re-charging, whether they should buy their own solar storage or use the grid, etc.

In computing, at first there were huge mainframes and dumb terminals. Eventually distributed and networked computing emerged because it's inherently a more powerful model.

The old grid was built to minimize cost and maximize reliability. Those two things are going to take some hits along the way if we're to actually make a clean transition and stop just talking about it.

 

I agree for the most part.  Generation (not at home) and transmission could/should be socialized.  Distribution, storage, and at-home generation (even at the town level) may not need to be socialized.

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1 hour ago, JAA said:

I agree for the most part.  Generation (not at home) and transmission could/should be socialized.  Distribution, storage, and at-home generation (even at the town level) may not need to be socialized.

Completely on the same page. Socialize the wires and certain baseload generators, pay tolls and fairly-priced grid services to the new-age utilities and we're well on our way. 👍

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6 hours ago, Stoneworker said:

20K bills for a week is a clear market failure. There will be a class action suit, no one will end up paying those bills, and appropriate consumer protection backstops/caps/disclosures will be put in place.

As far as the rest of the Orwellian paternalism...just wow...count me out.

How do you feel about variable versus fixed mortgage rates.  If some fluke event happened causing hyper inflation and the variable mortgage rate to go to 15%, do you think people should be given the option to switch into a fixed rate because there wasn't an appropriate consumer backstop in place?

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2 hours ago, moleculo said:

I'm struggling to see why it's an engineering impossibility.

Also, I'd like to challenge the above statement in green...why?  How could solar panel power producers sell excess electricity on an open market bypassing the power grid that the PUC controls?  it seems to me that they (producers) would have to play by the same rules that traditional power companies play by.  it's not like they can do an end-around and sell to someone else without transmitting over existing infrastructure.

You wouldn't bypass the power grid. Just pay fees to the utilities for using their wires. Pricing determined by the market.

Think of peer-to-peer energy trading analogous to Napster. 

Sounds far-fetched but it's not. Much of the technology already exists with the internet and cloud computing, etc.

 

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1 minute ago, Chaz McNulty said:

How do you feel about variable versus fixed mortgage rates.  If some fluke event happened causing hyper inflation and the variable mortgage rate to go to 15%, do you think people should be given the option to switch into a fixed rate because there wasn't an appropriate consumer backstop in place?

What's the existing law?

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2 hours ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

There seems to be a disconnect.  I think that you are saying that every everyday consumer of energy needs to be an expert in most of the peculiarities of energy production and distribution for there to be a different mix of power production and consumption than what has existed in the recent past? Otherwise their $20K bill is on them? Or the entire thing collapses?   I don't want to be putting "words in your mouth" or asking you to defend a position that isn't your position, but I am struggling because while I consider what you are (or at least seem to be) suggesting possible I don't think it is by any stretch feasible.  And since we are talking about Texas these solar panels flowing both ways and wind turbines and electric vehicles and such are all here now.  Maybe not in the size and scope of what is coming, but still already here.  If anything in my mind this changing mix based on societal goals rather profits demands more regulation rather than less.   I think the experience of the past week reinforces this.  I doubt it happens though.

Sorry. I have no idea how you got from incorporating more free market principles to "every consumer needs to be an energy expert...or the entire thing collapses." Seems a bit extreme.

But yes. The U.S. transitioning to a clean energy future full of distributed solar panels, EV's that plug into the grid, distributed microgrids that are cyber-secure and insulated from terrorist attacks, and internet-connected appliances that maximize energy efficiency...will go hand-in-hand with consumers (both commercial and residential) having more choices and becoming more informed.

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13 minutes ago, Stoneworker said:

Sorry. I have no idea how you got from incorporating more free market principles to "every consumer needs to be an energy expert...or the entire thing collapses." Seems a bit extreme.

But yes. The U.S. transitioning to a clean energy future full of distributed solar panels, EV's that plug into the grid, distributed microgrids that are cyber-secure and insulated from terrorist attacks, and internet-connected appliances that maximize energy efficiency...will go hand-in-hand with consumers (both commercial and residential) having more choices and becoming more informed.

When you say more choices, are you suggesting that the day will come when, as a consumer, I can choose between more than one energy company? 

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1 hour ago, Stoneworker said:

What's the existing law?

You take your chance with a variable (usually a little better rate), and get piece of mind with a fixed.  I am not aware of any laws that would cap the variable.  It is based off the prime interest rate.

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12 hours ago, massraider said:

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/02/21/politics/texas-utility-bills-michael-mccaul-cnntv/index.html

Excuse me? Federal disaster funds used to pay electric bills? 

Yeah, got to draw a line.  I miss Texas and love Texas, but they can pay their own way, even if that means burdening all Texas residents with an extra $200, $1,000, or whatever to keep Bobby Joe from having to pay a $16,000 bill.  Bottom line, this has to land squarely on the shoulders of Texas politicians. 

A bailout represents a money flowing from my pockets to a wealthy political donor. No bueno! Use them bootstraps, Texans (sorry, mom)

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5 minutes ago, timschochet said:

When you say more choices, are you suggesting that the day will come when, as a consumer, I can choose between more than one energy company? 

That was the original intent of deregulation in the 90's. Consumer choice varies by state and in fact CA was one of the first to offer choice but quickly got stalled after the Enron debacle.

Consumer choice is how renewable energy into the grid originally got started...in states where it was allowed (e.g. PA, NJ, TX) disruptive startups would offer energy "products" that cost more but were "green." To some degree that still exists.

Going forward I am saying more consumer choice is essential for a full clean energy transition. It's the best way to take advantage of distributed (mainly renewable) energy sources. But that doesn't mean a "standard offering" from utilities can't exist side-by-side ala Amy Klobuchar's "government option" Medicare plans.

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15 minutes ago, Chaz McNulty said:

You take your chance with a variable (usually a little better rate), and get piece of mind with a fixed.  I am not aware of any laws that would cap the variable.  It is based off the prime interest rate.

I'm frankly surprised there isn't a consumer protection law requiring a cap...either that or massive disclosure requirements from the lender upon signing verifying the borrower understands what they're getting into.

In any event to answer your question the concepts are similar so I would philosophically be good with applying established mortgage, credit card, etc. consumer protection laws to energy bills.

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25 minutes ago, Chaz McNulty said:

You take your chance with a variable (usually a little better rate), and get piece of mind with a fixed.  I am not aware of any laws that would cap the variable.  It is based off the prime interest rate.

ETA: When I said "market failure" earlier I specifically meant that the PUC/ERCOT should never have devised a market/pricing scheme that allowed consumer bills to ever reach those amounts...since they should have known full well there would be massive political blowback and never be paid.

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