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Texas Officials May Decide This Fall on Power Market Changes

Texas regulators may wait until after August to decide whether more changes to the state’s power market are needed to spur new generation projects.

“We’re moving forward on a lot of fronts right now,” Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman Donna Nelson said at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston today. “By the fall of this year I would expect we’d have all the information where we could make a decision on the big questions.”

Texas may be at risk of blackouts if there is an extreme heat wave this summer, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of the state’s grid, said last week. Regulators are considering additional financial incentives for power producers as the state has said that electricity supplies are expected to fall below targets amid economic and population growth.

Texas regulators have been raising the price cap for wholesale electricity to encourage investment in new power plants. Last year, the state utility commission approved doubling the cap, which is typically reached during the hottest days or a sudden shortage of supplies, from $4,500 a megawatt-hour to $9,000 by June 1, 2015.

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