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Texas Watchdog Says Grid Operator Made $16 Billion Error

  • Watchdog says Ercot should have reset prices on Feb. 18
  • Adjustment would ease financial squeeze on power companies
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What Contributed to the Texas Energy Crisis?
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A firm hired to monitor Texas’ power markets says the region’s grid manager overpriced electricity over two days during last month’s energy crisis, resulting in $16 billion in overcharges.

Amid the deep winter freeze that knocked nearly half of power generation offline, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as Ercot, set the price of electricity at the $9,000-a-megawatt-hour maximum -- standard practice during a grid emergency. But Ercot left that price in place days longer than necessary, resulting in massive overcharges, according to Potomac Economics, an independent market monitor hired by the state of Texas to assess Ercot’s performance. In an unusual move, the firm recommended in a letter to regulators that the pricing be corrected and that $16 billion in charges be reversed as a result.