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Anger at Abbott

I want to believe, I really really want to believe.

It was clear by Tuesday afternoon that Texas was in a full-blown crisis – and Gov. Greg Abbott had largely been out of sight.

More than 4 million households did not have power amid dangerously low temperatures, and an increasing number did not have heat or running water. Some families were burning furniture to stay warm, grocery stores were emptying, and people were dying. In the freezing darkness, many desperate Texans felt they were left to fend for themselves.

Abbott, a Republican, emerged that evening for a series of television interviews. In short, curt sentences, he told Texans in the Lubbock and Houston areas that he had issued an emergency order and called for an immediate legislative investigation of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the electrical grid. He angrily accused the council of not having a backup power supply and not sharing information with Texans, “even with the governor of Texas.”

Then he went on Fox News.

“This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” Abbott said, looking more relaxed as he chatted with host Sean Hannity, falsely blaming his state’s problems on environmental policies pushed by liberals.

This deadly disaster is one in a series that Abbott has faced in his six years as governor: Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which resulted in the deaths of 68 people, at least six major mass shootings that left more than 70 people dead, and a pandemic that has killed nearly 42,000 people in the state. Now, at least 32 people have died in Texas because of this storm.

In each crisis, Abbott often carefully studied the situation – and its political ramifications – before taking action, usually demanding future legislative changes that may never happen. He is known to deliver different messages to the various constituencies in his state, all while trying to build a national profile as a conservative leader.

[…]

Critics have said Abbott and his administration failed to take the storm’s threat seriously or issue sufficient emergency warnings throughout – with meteorologists giving ample warning of a serious storm that could bring record cold, cause power demand to spike, and threaten electrical infrastructure more than a week in advance. Texas Republicans have been accused of neglecting winterization upgrades recommended to the electrical grid more than a decade ago.

“He hasn’t done anything,” said Conor Kenny, a Democrat who is a former planning commission chairman in Austin. “All he has done is call for an investigation into his own administration.”

Abbott’s staff declined to make him available for an interview and did not respond to a list of questions.

Some longtime Abbott supporters are worried that this crisis could politically hurt the governor, who is up for reelection next year. Several prominent Democrats are eyeing the race, and a group of liberal activists – some of whom worked on former congressman Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign – started a political action committee last year called the Beat Abbott PAC.

“Short-term, I am absolutely certain that the governor’s popularity will suffer as a result of this,” said Bill Hammond, a Republican lobbyist and former head of the Texas Association of Business. “He is the head of state government at this time . . . and it’s just like the quarterback, the blame and the credit go to the quarterback.”

But Hammond said he expects that Abbott will quickly rebound, as he has before. Abbott can make upgrading the power grid a defining goal and will be well-positioned to be reelected to a third term, he said.

“He was upset as anyone could be about this,” Hammond said. “Our [political competitors] will use this against us, no question about it, but we have plenty of time before next winter, and then we will come out of this stronger.”

[…]

Harry LaRosiliere, the Republican mayor of Plano in fast-growing Collin County near Dallas, said the power and water shortages are exposing how too many Texas politicians did not invest in the everyday needs of residents, such as highways, schools and public utility projects. A few years ago, LaRosiliere said, a major company decided not to relocate to Plano because it worried that Texas would eventually run out of water.

Instead of making investments to keep up with population growth, LaRosiliere said politicians in Austin are too often focused on divisive social issues including setting rules on which bathrooms transgender individuals can use and expanding gun rights.

This was a WaPo story reprinted in the Chron, so if it seemed like it was written for people who didn’t know much about Texas, that’s the reason. The quote from Mayor Harry LaRosiliere aside, it’s mostly Dems who think Abbott will pay a price for his lackluster leadership, and mostly Republicans who think he’ll be fine. Whatever you think about Bill Hammond, he’s right that the next election is a long way off, and there is the time and opportunity for Abbott to do something – or at least make it look like he’s done something – that voters will like. And while multiple articles have cited that UH Hobby School poll that showed Abbott with a 39% approval rating (including the next story I’m about to comment on), no one ever mentions that his overall approval was one of the best from that poll, and it’s just one poll. I want to believe, I really want to believe, but we’re way too far out from November 2022 to make any assessments.

If the freeze and blackouts were tough on Greg Abbott, they provided Beto O’Rourke with an opportunity to show what a different kind of leadership could bring to Texas.

While Ted Cruz was getting clobbered for fleeing Texas amid its historic winter storm, the Democrat he defeated in 2018, Beto O’Rourke, was already deep into disaster relief mode — soliciting donations for storm victims, delivering pallets of water from his pickup truck and once again broadcasting his movements on Facebook Live.

It was part of an effort orchestrated by O’Rourke and his organization, Powered by People, in response to the crisis. It was also, to Texas Democrats, a sign that O’Rourke the politician is back.

The former congressman and onetime Democratic sensation acknowledged last month that he’s considering running for governor in 2022, and he has discussed the possibility with Democratic Party officials and other associates. The drubbing that Texas Republicans are taking in the wake of the deadly storm may provide him with an opening — even in his heavily Republican state.

“After all of Texas freezes over because of poor leadership, I think it’s a different state of Texas than it was two weeks ago,” said Mikal Watts, a San Antonio-based lawyer and major Democratic money bundler.

If O’Rourke runs for governor, Watts said, “I think he could catch fire.”

Say it with me now: I want to believe, I want to believe. (I say that as I remind you that I’m still Team Julian, and he gave the barest of hints that maybe he could possibly be running as well.) I will say this, the one thing that might help drive down Abbott’s approval is an opponent who gets a lot of attention and who is good at focusing people on Abbott’s myriad failures as Governor. Whatever Beto and Julian ultimately decide to do next year, as long as one or both of them are doing that much, it’s a good thing.

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25 Comments

  1. Manny says:

    Republicans don’t care about facts or what happened two years before an election as they will rely on their lies to deceive the uninformed.

    Today, the two things they are planning to attack Democrats with are they want to take our guns away and that Democrats are keeping the schools closed because they pander to teacher’s unions.

    You have the Bills and Jasons that come to ply their lies and promote hate.

  2. brad says:

    Manny,

    You are too generous. Two years to remember yet another cluster by the GOP run state?

    Republicans have memory shorter than that of a mosquito. Think 2 minutes.

    Competent governance is not what Republicans want. Literally their platform is to “Own the Libs”. Fact based, pragmatic solutions are for fools (i.e. Republican voters).

  3. David Fagan says:

    If Abbott accepts campaign donations from the energy sector that put us in this situation, which he does, then don’t vote for him.

    If Abbott’s opponent accepts campaign donations from the energy sector that put us in this situation, then don’t vote for them either.

    It is good not to put blind faith in the government, then you can weather these catastrophes a little better knowing people are alone to help themselves and their community.

  4. Manny says:

    David, not sure what you have been getting to lately, but you rely on roads built by the government when you go to work. When you use the equipment for work, you rely on the government to have inspected the equipment to make sure it is safe and will do as it claims.

    We rely on the government for an awful lot in our lives. It could go the Amish way, but even they rely on the government to some extent.

  5. David Fagan says:

    Realizing the government has a place in our lives is one thing.

    Relying on the government is something else.

    Blind faith in government is something else entirely.

    What is a level of trust in government? Can I trust them to build a road? Sure. Inspections are privatised, much like your car inspections, much like your power grid. But if my car breaks down, or the power grid fails, or a hurricane blows in. I do not have faith the government will provide me, or the people around me, protection. They are reactionary at best.

    I know, Manny, you want to argue for idk what reason, so this is the only reply to your direct response.

  6. Manny says:

    You can’t prevent a burglary before it occurs, nor stop a murder that has not happened. Not enough money in the world to have someone protecting every person.

    Luckily most people are not all thieves, rapists, murders, etc.

  7. Flypusher says:

    “But if my car breaks down, or the power grid fails, or a hurricane blows in. I do not have faith the government will provide me, or the people around me, protection. “

    The car maintenance is on the individual owner, but the government can and should shore up the infrastructure in anticipation of disasters. Especially when the experts are sounding the alarm, and disasters have actually happened.

    “They are reactionary at best.”

    No, at best they would be more proactive. For example, we’re way behind on that badly needed coastal spine project.

  8. Lobo says:

    Re: Abbott’s powers and role in energy emergency, look what I found:

    UTILITIES CODE
    TITLE 4. DELIVERY OF UTILITY SERVICES
    SUBTITLE B. PROVISIONS REGULATING DELIVERY OF SERVICES
    CHAPTER 186. PROVISIONS TO ENSURE THE RELIABILITY AND INTEGRITY OF UTILITY SERVICE
    SUBCHAPTER A. CONTINUITY OF UTILITY SERVICE

    Sec. 186.003. ENFORCEMENT BY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT. In accordance with Section 186.002, the governor, and the department of the executive branch of government under the governor’s direction, shall exercise all power available under the constitution and laws of this state to protect the public from dangers incident to an interruption in water, electric, or gas utility service in this state that occurs because of a violation of this subchapter.

    (PUC Chair testified yesterday that she wasn’t aware of anything criminal).

    And presumably Abbott can override any acts or failures-to-act by PUC, and any rules that may stand in the way of dealing with the crisis, by invoking emergency powers under the Disaster Act for such specific purposes.

    OFFICIAL PUC-SPONSORED PRICE GOUGING

    I wonder if that would include the power to order all available/functional generators to come and stay online for the duration of the disaster, and to set a reasonable (cost +) price instead of the PUC delivering a Hurricane 5 financial windfall to the power generating industry by hiking the wholesale rate the max: $9,000.00 per MWh compared to the going rate of $20.79 a month earlier, i.e. the rate at which the power generators were able and willing to provide the very same product in January. And as for comparison with last year: The wholesale rate was even lower: $18.27.

    The cost-plus pricing structure would take into account any surge in fuel price for thermal power generators.

    Data source: ERCOT Presentation – Slide 22
    “Average system-wide pricing around the event relative to other historical periods (in $/MWh)
    http://www.ercot.com/content/wcm/key_documents_lists/225373/2.2_REVISED_ERCOT_Presentation.pdf

    Now that the power is back on, keep watching for the financial fallout.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    You found your own answer in your post, even if you don’t like it. Who set the maximum cap of $ 9,000/MWh? The state! The executive branch (Abbott) can do what is allowed under the law, which is….cap a MWh to nine grand! So if you think that’s too exorbitant, then lobby to have the maximum cap lowered to what YOU think is fair.

    Of course, when you lower the potential profit, do you think power generators are going to be more, or less likely, to invest in new generation plants? This is the reason people are unmotivated in the communist system…..there’s no benefit to going the extra mile to work hard and produce more electricity. No Australian is going to be putting his thinking cap on, figuring out a creative way to route extra gas to Texas, for example, if there’s no big gain for him to do so.

    Take away the profit motive, and that Australian energy trader is just gonna put another shrimp on the barbie, vs. caring about you and your lack of power, in your time of need.

  10. Jason Hochman says:

    I am generally angry, at many parties. Our local officials never told us that the entire infrastructure was so flimsy. They knew, but they said other stuff, such as this is gonna be like a category five hurricane. Instead of making absurd similes they should’ve told us that the entire state would collapse.

    I also blame the climate change people who have been putting out the myth that “winter just doesn’t happen anymore,” “it just keeps getting warmer and warmer,” “remember back in the 1900s when it actually got cold in winter,” etc. Climate change people created a sense of complacency about cold weather, relegating it to a mythical tale of yesteryear told by grandparents in their dotage. As a result, the grid was never made to withstand “winter.” Now, climate change people point to this cold snap as evidence of climate change. Every anomaly of the weather is now “climate change.” Guess what, days that were hotter or cooler than average have always occurred. Global temperatures dropped from 2016–2018 https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
    Not sure if two years means much of anything, but the media sure won’t report it. We need to prepare in case a mini ice age does come as some experts predict.

    Also angry at Lying Ted, he made it out like he just went to Cancun and came right back, he was just chaperoning his kids.

    The media is another problem. They are pushing the Great Reset. You will own nothing but you will be happy. They are also not fact checking the new administration. For example, the falsehood that there was no vaccine and no vaccine strategy when they took office.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Overall, pretty good post, Jason!

  12. Lobo says:

    DISASTER ELECTRICITY PRICE SETTING BY FIAT

    Question posed by Bill: Who set the maximum cap of $ 9,000/MWh?

    Answer: The PUC. And then they kept it up even though the generating capacity was available and the market would have produced a much lower wholesale price.

    Additionally, the generators didn’t need $9,000 to remain incentivized to keep producing, assuming they had the physical capability to do so. That’s because the wholesale price was already at a premium at the time. There was testimony on that at yesterday’s hearing.

    PUC Chair testified yesterday that they (PUC) instituted the $9,000 cap pricing upon request of ERCOT, which is an organization controlled of the market players. (There is 1 representative for consumers on the board of ERCOT, but she is appointed by Abbott too, as are all three members of the PUC).

    The bottom line here is that the PUC and ERCOT are jointly responsible for market-wide price gouging (my characterization; not a legal conclusion, although
    Sen. Jose Menéndez (D) brought it up, if I recall correctly, at least with respect to natural gas, which increased the operating cost for gas-fired generators).

    The problem here is that the PUC is an agency that is supposed to serve the public interest, but is captured by the industry. In theory, it has control over ERCOT, but in practice it ratifies ERCOT’s marching orders: like the $5,000.00 fixed price for the duration of several days, which had never happened before.

    Because the PUC is a state agency, its act constitute “state action”, but not gubernatorial action. I suggested that the Governor had the authority to step it and act as a circuit breaker (Analogy: trading halt on Wall Street when things get crazy). He didn’t. And based on ERCOT’s own data, the price stayed at $9,000 even after the worst was over.

    Bottom line: PUC fixed the price at the $9,000 maximum through the order it issued for the occasion. The market wasn’t operating as it normally would.

    It appears that the PUC has since de-activated the link to its $9.000 price fixing order from its homepage. But I saved if it previously. Here is an excerpt from the “WINTER ERCOT ORDER” 51617 verbatim:

    ERCOT has informed the Commission that energy prices across the system are clearing at less than $9,000, which is the current system-wide offer cap pursuant to 16 TAC § 25.505(g)(6)(B).

    At various times today, energy prices across the system have been as low as approximately $1,200. The Commission believes this outcome is inconsistent with the fundamental design of the ERCOT market. Energy prices should reflect scarcity of the supply. If customer load is being shed, scarcity is at its maximum, and the market price for the energy needed to serve that load should also be at its highest.

    Utilities Code § 39.151(d) gives the Commission “complete authority” over ERCOT, the independent organization certified by the Commission pursuant to § 39.151. Further, 16 TAC § 25.501(a) provides that ERCOT determines market clearing prices of energy and other ancillary services in the ERCOT market unless “otherwise directed by the commission.”

    Pursuant to this authority, the Commission determines that adjustments are needed to ERCOT prices to ensure they accurately reflect the scarcity conditions in the market. Accordingly, the Commission directs ERCOT to ensure that firm load that is being shed in EEA3 is accounted for in ERCOT’s scarcity pricing signals.

    So, to reiterate: The PUC intervened in the market and jacked up the price of wholesale electricity, which had been trading as “low” as $1,200, to $9,000.00.

    Who has to pay the inflated price? – The energy buyers/users/consumers.
    Who benefits: The producers/sellers.

    That said, some market participants play on both sides, so there is some off-setting for some, which complicates the picture regarding winners and losers.

    Most living and breathing consumers don’t have to pony up immediately because they are on fixed-rated contracts, but just wait …

  13. Manny says:

    Bill. The Chinese are kicking some behind. They just announced that they had eliminated extreme poverty, their economy is doing much better than ours. Blaming communism for the failures of capitalism makes no sense.

    The latest GDP data shows that China’s recovery enjoyed strong momentum towards the end of 2020, due to its ability to contain the pandemic,” Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said in an email Friday. He expects it will take another eight to 10 years for China’s GDP to catch up to that of the U.S.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/01/new-chart-shows-china-gdp-could-overtake-us-sooner-as-covid-took-its-toll.html

    Capitalism has its faults, and what recently happened is like with the Enron manipulation of the energy market.

    Jason, you did not make sense, plus most of what you have is not true, lies as they are often called.

  14. Manny says:

    How utilities make money.

    Utilities do not operate in a normal free market system where prices and profits are determined by the willingness of consumers to pay. Instead, they are “regulated monopolies” in which public officials guarantee the companies a monetary return on their investments while also fixing prices for consumers. In practice, that means before a utility can earn money, it needs to convince regulators how much it should make. In public proceedings called “rate cases,” utilities appear before a dedicated state agency known as a utility commission (it’s the Utilities and Transportation Commission in Washington and the Public Utility Commission in Oregon) and lay out their argument for how much money they need to bring in to run their business and make a reasonable profit, namely the “revenue requirement.”

    This is the basic formula that governs how a utility makes money:
    Revenue Requirement = (Rate of Return on Equity)*(Value of Assets After Depreciation) + Expenses

    https://www.sightline.org/2020/05/18/playing-monopoly-or-how-utilities-make-money/

  15. Manny says:

    Given the structure of the Texas electricity market, there’s no surprise that the system failed. As Angwin told me on Sunday, the Texas system “rewards crisis. The grid becomes more profitable when it is in crisis. So power producers have a perverse incentive to facilitate a shortage so they can make more money.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbryce/2021/02/23/after-45-hours-without-electricity-these-are-my-top-takeaways-from-the-texas-blackouts/?sh=30b785652b18

  16. Manny says:

    Then you have the Bills and Jasons who follow;

    Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory believe that president Biden is responsible for situation in Texas, which has left many without electricity, heat or water.

    Followers of QAnon, a disproven and unfounded far-right theory that ex-president Donald Trump is at war with Satan-worshipping paedophiles, believe that Biden granted China access to America’s power grid, causing the energy crisis which is currently ongoing in Texas.

    https://www.indy100.com/news/qanon-conspiracy-texas-biden-china-b1804760

  17. Manny says:

    Who, then, is to blame? Just as with the child-welfare system, the buck stops with state government—with lawmakers and governors past and present. For one, ERCOT is overseen by the Texas Public Utility Commission, whose three commissioners are appointed by the governor. He is the elected official most directly accountable for their performance and, through them, the performance of ERCOT.

    The utility commissioners are the sorts of figures a governor appoints when he wants people to toe the party line, individuals with close ties to him and to the industry they’re empowered to regulate. The current chairman, DeAnn Walker, was a senior adviser to Abbott prior to joining the board. Before that, she was the director of regulatory affairs at CenterPoint Energy, the Houston electricity and gas giant. Another commissioner, Arthur D’Andrea, has been working for Abbott in various capacities since Abbott was attorney general, most recently as a lawyer in the governor’s office.

    The commissioners are paid more than $200,000 annually, but face little scrutiny. Last summer, the commission disbanded its oversight and enforcement division, which among other things investigates deceptive practices by electricity retailers, apparently because it was acting as a check on the commission’s power. And in November, the commission unilaterally junked its relationship with the Texas Reliability Entity, an independent monitoring organization that makes sure electric companies follow state guidelines. Predictably, Abbott and his allies have directed fire at ERCOT, not his apparatchiks on the commission.

    But even Abbott and the PUC are not entirely responsible for Texas’s unusual electricity system. Ultimately, the Texas Legislature is. In 1995 and 1999, lawmakers from both parties undertook a far-reaching experiment by deregulating the state’s power sector, part of the marketization binge that began in the eighties and transformed the telecom, pipeline, and airline industries. The idea was to introduce competition and “choice” to the staid utility sector, and empower an unfettered market to make electricity cheaper for consumers. The evidence on that last point is mixed, but consumers in parts of Texas that remain regulated—including those served by investor-owned companies like El Paso Electric, city-owned utilities such as Austin Energy and CPS Energy in San Antonio, as well as rural electric cooperatives—enjoy cheaper electricity than those in the much larger part of the state that deregulated. Customers in deregulated areas have paid a surcharge that, according to a recent Wall Street Journal analysis, amounted to $28 billion dollars over the last two decades.

    Deregulation also made the grid less robust and less resilient. By design, ERCOT has no “capacity market,” whereby electricity producers are paid to ensure generating capacity on future dates. Instead, the energy-only system relies on high wholesale power prices to encourage more generators to come online when demand rises. (That’s why some Texans with contracts pegged to the wholesale market have been getting post-freeze electricity bills in the tens of thousands of dollars.) Customers of grids with capacity markets pay a slight premium for electricity, in exchange for more-reliable power. The reliability of the Texas grid has always been an open question: we’ve seen relatively brief blackouts in winter storms and summer heat waves, but there have always been warnings of something worse.

    https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/responsible-texas-blackouts/

  18. Lobo says:

    More on the topic from the WSJ:

    “Amid Blackouts, Texas Scrapped Its Power Market and Raised Prices. It Didn’t Work. The Texas Public Utility Commission hoped its move would spur generation. Retail providers say all it did was generate billions in added bills.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-power-regulators-decision-to-raise-prices-in-freeze-generates-criticism-11614268158 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (Feb. 25, 2021).

    Comment: I don’t agree with the subtitle and the PUC rationale. There was likely very little if any spare capacity left that could/would respond to the pricing signal. Much rather, it appears that the PUC was all in on creating a bonanza for the industry … and how is this surprising given the “evil” nature of the experiment known as a scarcity market? To the extent the commissioners come from the industry, we can assume that they share the industry mindset.

    EXTREME WINDFALLS FROM EXPREME WEATHER

    The basic idea of the Texas electric energy system is to maximize profits based on scarcity, and there is therefore an incentive to create an emergency situation or at least contribute to it so as to trigger scarcity pricing. As long as the grid doesn’t collapse, the public be damned. If there is a total blackout, the premium pricing and the associated profits are gone too. ERCOT handles the brinkmanship, and if things go awry, millions of customers are simply cut off. And immediately. They call that “load shed”. There you have it: Obscene profits for industry: $9,000.00 per MWh instead of the usual $20.00. Millions of freezing Texans.

    What we saw here is scarcity pricing on steroids. Sponsored by the State (PUC), no less, for the benefit of the power generation industry.

  19. […] would have dipped if the poll had been done a week later. It’s possible the same is true for Abbott, though that’s harder to say for sure. Even a modest decline for him would still be decent, […]

  20. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    “Bill. The Chinese are kicking some behind. They just announced that they had eliminated extreme poverty, their economy is doing much better than ours. Blaming communism for the failures of capitalism makes no sense.”

    Since you’re excited about emulating the Chi-coms, may I suggest we start by putting US Muslims in forced re-education camps? Grab Ilhan Said el Nursi first, please, and work them all at hard, forced labor until they renounce violence and Islam. Sound OK to you? Oh, and we get to bring back coal plants, just like China, so that’ll be nice, too, as we no longer have to worry about blackouts in Texas. We can get rid of all the expensive to implement pollution laws, too. We can bring back manufacturing in a big way. I mean, so what if the air in Houston is so thick with smoke that we can’t see the Sun anymore? Oh, and you know what else China does, Manny? They enforce their border, so we’ll finally get to build that wall…..JUST LIKE CHINA.

    Hey, I’m stoked about this. Let’s go. Who do you envision as our supreme leader for life, Manny? Uncle Joe? Kamala (Auntie Ho)? I’m excited about the new 5 year plan. Since you have experience, and we really won’t need crusty old lawyers anymore, I wonder which farming collective they’ll assign you to, Manny? I know you’ll be excited to raise soybean yields 10% a year or face time in the gulag.

    Seriously, though, I feel like I’m in bizarro world here; American citizens are openly espousing communism like it’s a reasonable thing. Who is going to starve to death or end up in our killing fields, Manny?

    Wolf,

    I think you’re underestimating money as a motivator for power generators to get in the game. Why did so many producers go offline to begin with? Problems caused by freezing temps. That means broken equipment. So, how did they fix massive generating plants in a matter of hours and days? They did it by spending whatever it cost to get back up and running. I have an old friend who works for a custom machine shop near Hobby. They custom make one-off parts and fly them all over the world. When time is of the essence, and you’re losing, or standing to gain big money, you really don’t care how much you spend to fix something. You do whatever it takes to get back up and running. That costs money, Wolf. I guess when we adopt Manny’s utopian system, though, we can just send soldiers to my friend’s machine shop…..then they can either make the parts quickly and cheaply, or be bayoneted.

  21. Lobo says:

    Question posed: Why did so many producers go offline to begin with?

    Hypothesis 1: They hadn’t prepared for the cold weather even though they knew that they would be rewarded with higher prices in a crunch, given how the scarcity market is structured.

    Hypothesis 2: They elected not to be available (or used the bad weather as a pretext) until ERCOT had declared an EEA3 and the PUC had jacked up the wholesale price to $9,000.00. – After all, and I agree, money is a powerful motivator. $9,000.00 is more powerful motivator than $1,200, not to mention $20.00. And they are all sophisticated players unlike us, the plebs.

    Hypothesis 3: A mix of the above.

    To put the winter-storm price gouging sponsored by PUC/ERCOT anno 2021 in historical perspective, see the following data:

    Average Annual Real-Time Energy Market Prices by Zone [and gas price]

    ($/MWh) 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
    ERCOT $53.23 $28.33 $33.71 $40.64 $26.77 $24.62 $28.25 $35.63
    Houston $52.40 $27.04 $33.63 $39.60 $26.91 $26.33 $31.81 $34.40
    North $54.24 $27.57 $32.74 $40.05 $26.36 $23.84 $25.67 $34.96
    South $54.32 $27.86 $33.88 $41.52 $27.18 $24.78 $29.38 $36.15
    West $46.87 $38.24 $37.99 $43.58 $26.83 $22.05 $24.52 $39.72
    ($/MMBtu)
    Natural Gas $3.94 $2.71 $3.70 $4.32 $2.57 $2.45 $2.98 $3.22

    SOURCE: 2018 STATE OF THE MARKET REPORT FOR THE ERCOT ELECTRICITY MARKETS https://www.potomaceconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2018-State-of-the-Market-Report.pdf (181 pages)

    Also note this: “On January 23, 2018, prices reached the $9,000 system-wide offer cap for the first time in ERCOT’s history. The cap was reached during two dispatch intervals for a total of about 10 minutes.”

    JACK-UP MARKET INTERVENTION BY PUC

    In our Feb 2021 energy-industry jack-pot episode, the PUC set the market-wide rate at $9,000 by fiat (by issuing its Mon Feb. 15, 2021 Order, modified Feb. 16 as to retroactive application) and this exorbitant government-fixed price (not market price) was left in place for days, as reflected in the chronological graph in ERCOT’s Slide Presentation (at Board meeting and Lege hearings) for which I previously provided a link.

  22. Manny says:

    Bill, like always you twist things around, pretty typical for a racist.

  23. Manny says:

    By the way, Bill, one of those articles was a cookie for you, and it was actually advocating for fossil fuels.

  24. Manny says:

    David, do you rely on the government?

    What is the point you are trying to make?

  25. […] ask the feds for all the help he could get. I still can’t quite fathom it. However angry you are at Greg Abbott, you need to be angrier, and you need to make sure everyone you know is angry at him. This cannot […]