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Abbott vs Patrick on power outage blame game

This ought to be interesting.

The blame game over the state’s faulty electrical grid is creating a rare public rift between the two top Republicans in state government that could have a major financial impact on some utility companies and their customers.

First Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Friday blasted Gov. Greg Abbott’s newest appointee to oversee the state’s utility system for a lack of “competence and questionable integrity.” Hours later, Abbott released a late-night letter to the public, addressed to Patrick. In it, Abbott defended his appointee and pushed back against Patrick’s solution for inflated power bills due to the winter storms.

The divide comes as Abbott is scheduled to be in Houston on Monday for a press conference to talk about election integrity legislation he is supporting in the Texas Legislature.

For most of the last two years, Abbott and Patrick avoided such confrontations, instead trying to project unity on most issues such as the pandemic and legislative priorities like property tax reforms and changes in public school funding.

But that unity has eroded since the deadly winter storms that blasted Texas last month, leaving millions without power and broken water pipes despite a decade of warnings that the state’s power grid was vulnerable increasingly common winter storms.

At the core of their public dispute is how to deal with outrageous wholesale electricity bills that some utilities are facing. Patrick says sky-high emergency prices left in place too long by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas resulted in $4 billion to $5 billion in overcharges for utility companies. He says the error can be reversed retroactively by Abbott’s appointed members of the Public Utility Commission, which has authority over ERCOT.

But ERCOT leaders and Abbott say there is a difference of opinion of whether there was an error at all. ERCOT’s leader Bill Magness said the prices were kept intentionally high, to assure public safety by drawing more power to the grid to help Texans weather the freeze.

Abbott says the utilities commission cannot legally reverse the past charges anyhow, and if that is going to be done, it would have to be done by the Legislature.

[…]

Patrick did not like answers from Abbott or the governor’s new Public Utility Commission chair, Arthur D’Andrea, who has testified that he cannot reverse the wholesale energy prices retroactively.

During a Senate committee hearing on Thursday, Patrick did something he’s only done one other time during his two terms as the lieutenant governor: He personally attended the committee hearing and grilled D’Andrea directly himself.

“In light of the PUC chair’s refusal to take any corrective action, despite the fact that he has the authority and the evidence is clear, I am asking Gov. Abbott to intercede on this issue,” Patrick said in a press statement he sent out late Friday. “I am also asking Gov. Abbott to replace Mr. D’Andrea on the PUC when he fills the other two vacancies there. Mr. D’Andrea’s position requires both professional competence and honesty and he demonstrated little of either in the hearings yesterday.”

Patrick said D’Andrea does have the authority to fix pricing during “unusual circumstances.”

Less than two hours later on Friday night, Abbott shared with the media a letter to Patrick in which he points to his long legal history as a former Texas Supreme Court Justice and the Texas Attorney General before he became governor in 2014 to make the case that D’Andrea was correct.

“As a former Texas Supreme Court Justice and former Attorney General, I agree with the position of the PUC Chair about his inability to take the action you requested,” Abbott wrote in his letter. “You asked that I ‘intervene to ensure the right thing is done.’ The governor does not have independent authority to accomplish the goals you seek. The only entity that can authorize the solution you want is the Legislature itself. That is why I made this issue an emergency item for the Legislature to consider this session.”

See here for some background, and here for more detailed coverage of Dan Patrick versus the PUC dude. The tea leaf reading is rampant, with the spectacle of Patrick challenging Abbott in the primary for Governor as the uber-story. I think this is more an illustration of what kind of politician each of them is than anything else. Abbott is at heart a lawyer, the kind of lawyer who will comb the fine print looking for a justification for the thing he already wants to do, which in this case is make the blame for the freeze as well as the responsibility for fixing the underlying issues fall on someone else. Patrick, on the other hand, is a showman and self-promoter who has enough self-awareness to know that he came pretty close to losing in 2018 and it might be good for him to claim an accomplishment on something broadly popular while also beating up on someone more villainous than he is. (I refer to the PUC Chair here and not to Abbott, but if you took it the other way Patrick would not complain.) You have to admire his creativity on this.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick hastily convened a session of the Texas Senate on Monday as members suspended their own rules and took highly unusual steps to push through a bill that would force the state’s utility regulator to reverse billions of dollars in charges for wholesale electricity during last month’s winter storm.

Senate Bill 2142, sponsored by state Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, had not even been filed when the day started Monday — and the full Senate hadn’t been scheduled to convene. But by 2 p.m., it had been read on the Senate floor, approved in a hastily convened committee meeting that featured no public comment and then approved by the full Senate on a 27-3 vote.

Thanks to that extraordinary pace, it became the first bill that either chamber of the Legislature had passed since convening Jan. 12. It will head now head to the House, where its fate is currently uncertain.

“The Senate has acted,” Patrick said after Monday’s vote. “We are asking the governor to join us. And I think if he will say he’ll sign this bill, it may help us get this bill through the House.”

[…]

The filing of SB 2142 came after Friday’s deadline for filing legislation during the 2021 legislative session. But the Senate found a way around that rule in one of its bolder procedural moves Monday. The chamber brought back up its motion to adjourn Thursday and withdrew it, essentially going back in time on the legislative calendar and allowing Hughes to file his legislation before the Friday deadline.

Dan Patrick: He literally traveled through time to lower your electric bills. The ads, they write themselves. Look, I don’t think this makes Patrick any less likely to run for re-election as he has said he will, but a little speculation – and a little marketing – never hurt anyone. In the end, this will probably be more heat that light. If only we could get our power generation plants to store it all up for the next winter freeze.

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21 Comments

  1. Flypusher says:

    I expect that the TX GOP will throw the masses a bone in forbidding the worst of the price gouging. I do not expect them to actually address the resiliency/ reliability issues. They are welcome to prove me wrong on the latter.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    The Senate vote was 27-3 for reversing some of the massive charges. You should expect that Texas Dems will not want to be left out of “throwing the masses a bone.” Having said that, nationally, Dems fervently support the biggest tax hike in a generation, so maybe the House Dems do want the power producers to keep their extra billions, so they’ll have more to take in federal taxes. Maybe the Senate Dems just didn’t get the memo, so they voted wrong.

  3. Flypusher says:

    The tax increase is overdue. I’m not down with the “low taxes but we neglect all the infrastructure” model. That costs more in the long run.

  4. Jen says:

    This bit about “Abbott is scheduled to be in Houston on Monday for a press conference to talk about election integrity legislation” irks me. Abbott is in Houston to campaign, using his support of voter suppression to appeal to the far right. Calling it ‘Election integrity’ is going pretty far out of the way to whitewash these despicable doings.

  5. Lobo says:

    ERCOT/PUC-HEIST RE-FRAMING & THE VACUOUS BELABORING OF GOP RIVALRIES

    While the media entertains us with an overplayed Abbott-Patrick spat, the reporting and explicating of what is concededly a complex topic lamentably suffers.

    Why the haste on the part of the Lege to do something about the PUC price-fixing issue?

    Here is a hypothesis for further evaluation: Existing PUC and ERCOT rules allow for correction of errors and disputes regarding pricing and settlement, but there are deadlines associated with these processes.

    What if Patrick and the Senate were trying to stay within that framework, rather than passing new PUC legislation, so as to preempt legal challenges regarding retroactivity and claims of an unconstitutional governmental takings, not to mention industry protests that the expectations of market players were being upset?

    The D’Andrea “Last-Man-Standing” Commission refused to use these existing mechanism, claiming there was no legal authority to fix the problem after the fact (while defending the propriety of the PUC’s original market intervention, and ERCOT’s supposed interpretation of the PUC’s wishes and will), but the Senate Judiciary Committee has duly concluded otherwise. And mind you, they have a lot of legal talent at their disposal as well.

    A probing of the ERCOT pricing/billing error correction and re-pricing (which BTW are not synonymous) and the associated time frames — was part and parcel of the hours and hours of Senate Judiciary Committee grill fest last week. Yes, it somewhat tedious to re-watch the video of the whole thing but that’s no reason to dispense with it when the goal is to make sense of it all, and explain it to the public.

    Further, the remedy being devised by the Lege would not merely amount to a bone thrown to the clamoring masses, but would help Brazos Electric, a coop with a massive bill from ERCOT that has since sought protection in bankruptcy court, and municipal power companies that are deeply in the red because they had no choice but to buy power at the maxed-out-to-the-limit price imposed on them by the PUC (though Austin Power reportedly came out as a net winner).

    LOOSING SIGHT OF THE GRIDWIDE HEIST

    Such legislative remedy would also support both the *perception and the reality* that the Lege did something substantive, and would avoid recognition of the deeper problem that should have been treated as the scandal it is: that the State of Texas itself (through the Abbott-appointed PUC) engaged in price fixing and oversaw a massive redistribution of wealth from the buyer/consumer side of the electricity “market” to the seller/producer side, thereby allowing energy producers to make a killing in the midst of a declared disaster.

    You might call this price gouging on steroids. On the grandest of scales. Epic indeed. And not in a good way.

    THE RETURN OF THE ROBBER BARONS

    Outside the Lone (and arguably Loony) Star State, governments have agencies that go after cartels and anti-competitive practices, such as market manipulations and price fixing (most recently, peanut processers); here, Abbott’s appointees to a state agency supposedly set up to protect the public interest engineered on an ad-hoc basis a massive abuse and profiteering opportunity for the benefit of electricity producers (and their fuel suppliers), while holding residential electricity customers hostage and chilling in their own off-lined homes.

    The Lege is keenly aware of these excesses and the need to do something about it to placate the public that had their power cut off in a highly bipartisan fashion.

    But they also don’t want to address the fundamentally “evil” nature of the so-called “market design” that creates incentives to profiteer from scarcity, whether caused by natural weather events or otherwise. Not to mention the possibility that the scarcity could be artificially created or at least aggravated by those that stand to benefit — and benefit greatly — from surge pricing.

    THE PUC’S PRICE FIXING ORDER, AND ITS ERCOT SEQUEL

    The proverbial smoking gun here is the Monday, February 15, 2021 PUC Order instructing ERCOT to fix the price at $9,000 per MWh (rather than allow the market to float down to a price “as low as $1,200” due to the drop in demand caused by the fact that ERCOT had already plunged millions of residential customers into the frosty dark). The $1,200 was already a multiple of the normal price of $25.00 for the very same quantity of the survival-critical commodity. And the original PUC order made the jacked-up price retroactive to cover the controlled blackout period that had ERCOT had initiated shortly after 1am that Monday. So much for “incentivizing” additional power generation.

    For the duration of the so-called load shed (i.e., the we-cut-you-off-and-make-you-chill period) the wholesale price wasn’t floating reflecting supply and blackout-reduced demand because ERCOT “fixed” its pricing software to add to the price produced by supply and demand to take it to the max. Why? — Because the generators had opined that they were entitled to profiteer from the crisis, and lobbied the their state regulators for top dollars “to reflect the scarcity conditions”.

    THE COMPUTER “GLITCH”: ERCOT’S MARKET-PRICING SOFTWARE WASN’T SUFFICIENTLY GREED-SENSITIVE

    You see, that’s how things are supposed to work in their mind. If the wholesale pricing mechanism as designed doesn’t allows us to price-gauge to the full extent ($9,000 per MWh, compared to “only” $1,200 in times of scarcity), we must find fault with the algorithm — technical malfunction — and have the PUC manually override it for the occasion. They did. By stroke of pen, with three signatures.

    THE ASSERTED RIGHT TO PRICE-GOUGE AND PROFIT FROM MISERY

    In a proper post-mortem on the winter storm grid event we experienced, quote-unquote marks around the word “market” are highly appropriate because there is no market when the price is fixed, and is *not allowed* to reflect demand and supply. In this truly chilling episode, the PUC, which is now down to a one-man show, pegged the price at $9,000 to befit the crisis. It thus commandeered the wholesale market as we know it. Ad hoc and unprecedented.

    And we learned at the hearing that generators lobbied for their asserted right to profit from the scarcity to the full hilt of the market cap, which PUC had hiked from $3,000 to $9,000 a few years earlier. Understandingly, market participants on the buyer side didn’t intervene with ERCOT or PUC to complain that the prices weren’t *high* enough in the midst of a disaster. The pushback came from the Independent Market Monitor, but she was ignored, which brings us to Phase 2 of the PUC-ERCOT HEIST.

    The second smoking gun is a market notice by ERCOT through which the grid operator provided assurance of a continuing price [gouging] guaranty even after the mandated load shed had ended. In close consultation with the PUC Chair (collusion might be a better term) ERCOT’s CEO decided that the $9,000 fixed price would remain in effect.

    ERCOT thus sent a signal to the gas sector and the associated speculators that bonanza time wasn’t yet over, and that they could price-gouge the generators because the latter had been guaranteed the ability to continue to exact & extract $9,000 per megawatt hour from their captive buyers. ERCOT would be doing the receivables/debt-collecting for them, and would “uplift” the market in the event of a shortfall, should any of them default, thereby spreading the pain to other market participants. — What’s not to like?

    D’Andrea even gloated about how much he enjoyed his role in it all. In response, no less, to sympathy expressed to him about how grueling it must have been in real time to make highly impactful decisions under great pressure. Where is the outrage when it matters?

    Bottom line: It would be in the public’s interest if the quality press were to cover the substance of what went on, as opposed to wasting their energy and intellectual prowess on a phantom horse race between Abbott and Patrick before the primary season has even begun.

    NO STALLING THE RUMOR MILL

    “Patrick has never been able to fully shake rumors that he is interested in the governor’s office, despite insisting he would never run against Abbott and repeatedly saying he plans to run for a third term as lieutenant governor in 2022.”

    Gee, what does that even mean? How can you shed yourself of a rumor? Not to mention nailing down or disavowing a subjective intention or interest? Not to mention an unattributed rumor created and propagated by the media itself. Or the commentariat, to widen the network of culprits.

    If Patrick said he is *not* running against Abbott, shouldn’t that settle the matter for now … unless and until he changes his mind and says otherwise?

    And I don’t even like Bathroom Bill Patrick. But partial credit ought to be given where partial credit is due.

    The Senate Bill could do some good, even it is does nothing the extirpate the evil of profiteering in the scarcity market as currently designed, and the temptations it creates for the producer side to manipulate it.

    THE BIGGER ISSUE: MARKET CONTROL BY FIAT

    Last and alas, no one has even questioned the $9,000 market cap. That’s apparently what the industry wanted and got, what with the industry in effect regulating itself through its de jure control of ERCOT and its de facto control of the PUC. This number is arbitrary, and should also be questioned legislatively, along with the PUC’s raising the market price (from as “low” as $1,200 after load shed, see above) to $9,000 *by fiat*.

    A final thought: The industry should not both be able to force demand reduction by cutting me and you off at will (through ERCOT) AND hike up the price to the max and make a killing off those that are still on line (through PUC/ERCOT).

    What chuzpah!

    A sensible government would have commandeered the energy companies to make them produce at reasonable government-guaranteed prices to satisfy basic needs and assure citizen survival for the duration of the weather-induced disaster. Think Defense Production Act. Think Texas Disaster Act.

    Alas, we don’t have sensible government.

  6. Jen says:

    It is illustrative of how bad this whole setup was (is) that many gas suppliers and gas fired generators didn’t apply (or even know they should apply) to be listed as critical infrastructure so that their power would not be cut off in a grid emergency. So they got cut off and everything froze up, making the situation much worse.

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    It is very fascinating that the Houston Chronicle reports today that Abbott was advised by a climate change skeptic before the freeze.

    In reality he spoke to someone called Joe Bastardi, who believes that human activity is not the main cause of changes in climate. It doesn’t sound like he’s saying that the climate is not changing, or can’t change, or any skepticism about the possibility, only that humans are not the main driver of any change.

    More interesting is that Bastardi told the Gov. that this freeze would be like a Category V hurricane, which is the terminology that my Judge used. I knew all along that the Judge had inside information and they all knew that the grid was junk, but didn’t tell us. I would like the Judge to also be voted out for this. (In an unrelated story, my friend Lonnie used to have a GTO emblazoned with “THE JUDGE” and he raced it against Sam Govanucci who had a Nova that was in black rat primer. They raced down on River Road (Rt 837) and that Nova I swear it pulled its front wheels off the ground, impossible, I know. I wonder if The Judge took her name from that model of car).

    Since we see that our local leaders know the truth, but don’t tell the public the full truth, I wonder what else they know. For example, I heard my city councilman is taking a maternity leave. Excuse my naivete but how can you get pregnant while social distancing? They know that anti social distancing and masks are overrated, but they won’t tell us.

    I urge anyone who votes to vote all of the incumbersomes out of office.

  8. Jen says:

    Jason. Blather. Shut up.

    You need to save your energy in order to run for Police Chief and County Judge.

  9. Lobo says:

    PROPER PROPHYLAXIS & SUNDRY ABSURDITIES OF THE DAY

    Response to Hochman on getting pregnant while socially distanced:

    I trust this isn’t the progeny of a misconception about the proper use of a “mouth condom” from Lobo’s COVID-STD transmission analogy. But who knows!?

    Meanwhile our Governor is comparing – or shall we say co-pairing — FACEBOOK and TWITTER with courthouse squares, and pushing our legislators to make law to defy the first secular commandment of our storied liberty-minded Republic: Congress shall make no law … they wrote.

    Which one takes the cake?

    Meanwhile, while we on the topic of being guided by analogies, a fitting addition to today’s Zoom docket:

    IN RE BASTARDI (NON-ADVERSARY)
    IN RE GOEB**** (NON-ADVERSARY) [redacted]

    If bad luck had had it and I had been born a Bastardo, not to mention a plural version thereof to brand the entire presumptively Caucasian if not peninsular clan, could I be faulted for petitioning a court to assign me a new moniker? – Much to be said in favor. — You are welcome, Mr. Bastardi.

    Let Lieutenant Patrick show the way to Shamrockification and attendant legitimacy.

    — Just saying.

    For some fake Italian basterds faking it, including an all-white Brad Pitt, enjoy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40HS7mxA5CQ (Bastardi senza gloria – Scena degli italiani – Originale Vs Italiano)

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    OK, you have convinced me that ERCOT/PUC intentionally F’d all of us, presumably at the behest of power generators. So what do YOU see as a fair resolution to “un-F” this whole mess? What’s your specific plan? reduce the $ 9,000/MWh payments to $ 1,200/MWh payments? Something else?

  11. Jen says:

    The way to un-f this whole mess is to ELECT DEMOCRATS. No Chit, Cherlock!

  12. Lobo says:

    WARNING: EXPLICIT – LIEU GUV GOEB’S DISAVOWAL

    Dear Usual Suspects and Esteemed Off-the-Kuff Lurkers:

    Since penning the above commentary (keyboarding it, much rather, with the usual smattering of typos) I discovered that Patrick’s in-person press conference has actually been posted on the TexLege’s website.

    If you want to hear for yourself Patrick’s express refutation of any insinuation that he might be gearing up to primary Abbott, go straight to clock-timer position 22:08.

    https://tlcsenate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=49&clip_id=15472

    For those of you-all interested in the substance of the ERCOT/PUC debacle aftermath, and in what else might be forthcoming by way of legislative fixes for past wrongs and prophylactic measures to prevent recurrence, I recommend the entire 24 minutes.

    It’s actually more informative than the hurried Senate Committee voting session itself (which featured zero public input and zero discussion). For an in-depth appreciation of the overcharge matter, however, last week’s 5+hour hearing, would probably qualify as indispensable. It featured contributions by the following”

    * Independent Market Monitor,
    * On-the-way-out ERCOT CEO Bill “Take the Bill to the Max” Magness, and
    * PUC Soloist Arthur “Loving the Loadshed” D’Andrea.

    WHAT IS TO BE DONE? A LENIN-LOVER MIGHT ASK

    So, Bill: I haven’t been hired to consult on this retro-ripoff-rectification project, nor am I running for office with a package of good ideas so save the fail-prone State of Texas. Consequently, I just brainstorm and share as I see fit.

    Let me just point out – again gratis and for the benefit of all — that ERCOT must have the demand-supply-driven AI-computed price data. The testimony was that it applied an “adder” or “adders” to artificially bring the operative price to the $9,000 cap. So that implies that price (though nominally constant at $9,000) can forensically be disaggregated into its components and the pricing timeline for the entire extraordinary time period could actually be reconstructed. This should then allow for the value of all the transactions in the spot market to be recomputed with the appropriate downward-adjusted price that reflect supply and demand conditions at each interval whatever it is.

    The $1,200 price level would not be the correct benchmark because that value merely represents a low point on an up-and-down zig-zag on Monday (hence the “as low as” language in PUC’s price fixing order). And an additional challenge involves the gas suppliers and the associated speculators that jacked up their spot market price and badly inflate the gas-fired generators’ production cost. The gas market players should therefore be included in the overall reallocation and in the righting of wrongs. We shall say what, if anything, the AG’s anti-trust investigation will yield on that front. Given that Paxton is in charge, I can’t say I have much confidence.

    COURT-ORDERED CLAWBACK/RESTITUTION ?

    I could see how a court would similarly go about trying to reconstruct what the correct price would have been, absent market manipulation/intervention, and how a court could perhaps order disgorgement/restitution for unjust enrichment for the surcharge portion from the beneficiaries thereof. That would in theory also apply to Griddy consumers, but that part of the overall financial disaster has apparently since moved into BK court, and the customer account obligations will presumably be treated as debtor receivables/BK estate assets there. Who knows how all that plays out for Griddy customers who haven’t paid their exorbitant bills. One called in at the last PUC hearing. D’Andrea told him and his ilk to ask for payment plan. — Duh. He should have told him to seek competent counsel.

    But the Lege might preempt judicial remedies. We’ll have to see.

    STUMBLINB BLOCK: OFFICIAL WRONGDOER IMMUNITY IN TEXAS

    I ruminated on this angle of the conundrum before. There is little doubt that the
    PUC and ERCOT will claim sovereign immunity. ERCOT previously hired a former Chief Justice to do its bidding in the high court on that front, with a final word on the matter still outstanding. And even equitable remedies that might not be barred by immunity don’t usually include the functional equivalent of money damages, i.e. retrospective relief for harm already inflicted.

    On the other hand, ERCOT could conceivably issue “adjusted” bills to correct for past errors in money flows (albeit in unprecedented if not gigantic amounts), and if that is an option, a court might be able to order such correctional invoicing and compensatory “re-settlement” likewise without having to award judgment for money damages.

    The Lege is about to do just that, but on a different legal theory: namely that the existing statutory rules under which PUC and ERCOT operate allow for correction of errors. And that is the point of the Senate bill voted on by the Judiciary Committee yesterday. It only covers 32 hours of $9,000 pricing, however, valued at $16 billion (gross). The entire bill run up under PUC’s maxed-out pricing at $9,000 for four consecutive days is much larger.

  13. Bill Daniels says:

    Jen,

    Respectfully, there isn’t much I have in common with today’s Dem party. Put another way, they do not represent me, fight for what I would like to see from government, or even like me. In decades past, I have voted for Blue Dog types, but the current fascination with ‘woke’ has left me behind.

    Unlike the Chamber of Commerce Republicans, I do not want to flood the country with cheap labor illegals (popular with Dems, too, obviously). Unlike the Chamber of Commerce Republicans and the Democrats, I do not want to be at perennial war. I prefer peace. Name an issue other than abortion, and a few other things, and the Dems hold diametrically opposed views to me. I wouldn’t vote to live under Dem. leadership, and there aren’t any more Blue Dogs for me to vote for anyway. Look at your offering for my House representative, Sri. He’s an ideological socialist that hates White people. Last time I checked, I am White, and not a socialist. See my problem with your suggestion?

  14. Manny says:

    Since I am almost sure that ERCOT does not keep the money, it passed on to the companies that supplied the gas to the generating companies.

    So if a price adjustment is made, will the companies like the one that the Cowboys owners and the Australian Bank have to return said money? If not, where will the money come from? The taxpayers? I would not put it past the Fascists to suck it to Texas’s working men and women.

    Most people have price guarantees with their contract. How will the prices that will eventually be paid affect future electrical contracts? I personally believe that again the fascist-controlled state government will suck it to the working men and women and that we will be paying a lot more in the future. Since my contract was about to expire, I got the longest contract possible at a slightly higher price than was offered a few weeks before.

    From the Texas Tribune, the following;

    “It’s not immediately clear how much the alleged overbilling will affect regular Texans or what impact the Senate legislation would have on people’s future electricity bills. Retail power providers buy power off the state market and then sell it to residential or commercial customers. At least some of the additional costs for the retail providers would seem likely to be passed on to consumers, which Patrick made in a Monday press conference. But the financial hit varies by provider. And some retail providers also supply power to the grid, adding more to the uncertainty.”

    Bill, you are a white supremacist, one would not expect you to support a party that consists of a large number of none white fascists like you. Republican/Fascist Party is about 90% white.

  15. Lobo says:

    “I hereby resign effective immediately upon the appointment of my successor. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to serve the State of Texas.”

    There you go, Mr. Loving the Loadshed.

    Kudos to Loren Steffy over at the TEXAS MONTHLY
    https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/wall-street-profited-off-texas-blackouts/
    Bonus feature: embedded sound recording of phone call they tried to keep away from the media)

  16. Manny says:

    Thanks for the link, Lobo.

    When the players have spent the money and the taxpayers are still paying for the criminal acts, in my opinion, all the shenanigans will eventually come out, a la Enron.

  17. Jason Hochman says:

    Lobo, my comment about getting pregnant while socially distant is based not on your comment but simply on the physical impossibility of maintaining proper prescribed distance during conception.

    The people in charge have inside knowledge about all of this, and not sharing it with us. Just like they knew that the grid would collapse. When I heard that the temperature might go down to 15 degrees overnight, I was not concerned. At Christmas I went to visit and it was unusually cold getting down into the teens at night and no big deal. When it was predicted to be cold here, I thought that it would be fine to have a few real winter days in Houston, and looked forward to baking gingermen, making a pot of lentil soup, popping corn on the stove, and making hot chocolate. However, none of that was to be when electricity, water, and everything else failed. The government knew about the grid being held together with Scotch tape but didn’t tell us, instead, just fear mongering with the category V hurricane nonsense.

    Likewise, they know the truth when we see the Newsomes, the Cuomos, the Pelosis, the Faucis, and others going out and about without their masks, when they think that the camera is not there.

  18. Manny says:

    Jason, you are ???? It was fear-mongering but it got real bad, “no water, no electricity, everything failed.” Sounds like they weren’t fear-mongering just you not paying attention to them.

    By the way Jason it is possible to get someone pregnant from more than six feet away. I will let you figure that out.

  19. Jen says:

    Back to the fray- now AG Paxton has countered Abbott on the constitutionality of repricing, while the Texas House Speaker Phelan has issued a ‘we been bought and are gonna stay bought’ position that repricing would be interfering with the market, as though we didn’t know that is exactly what the PUC massively did. Good times.

  20. Jen says:

    One of the big shoes that needs to drop here is what phone calls were made by the PUC officials to Wall Street *before* the crisis, what was promised, and who else knew about it.

  21. Lobo says:

    PATRICK VS. ABBOTT – ENCORE, ONCE MORE

    Don’t know why Ross keeps talking about Abbott being Patrick’s boss. (“Abbott might be his superior on paper, but Patrick has been the stronger leader since the freeze last month.”) – What paper?

    TEXAS GOVERNMENT 101

    Last time I checked, Texas has a *plural* rather than a *unitary* executive. See Texas Constitution Article 4.

    Lieutenant Governor derives his power from the constitution directly, is not subservient to the Guv, and is separately elected and (in theory, at least) democratically accountable. Out of the several distinct constitutional executive offices, only the Secretary of State is hand-picked by the Guv. See sections 2, 21.

    So, call Ruth Hughs an Abbott apparatchick, if you will.*) Patrick, however, doesn’t have to kiss the Guv’s ring. He gets to rule his own roost. See Section 16 for specifics:

    Sec. 16. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR. (a) There shall also be a Lieutenant Governor, who shall be chosen at every election for Governor by the same voters, in the same manner, continue in office for the same time, and possess the same qualifications. The voters shall distinguish for whom they vote as Governor and for whom as Lieutenant Governor.

    (b) The Lieutenant Governor shall by virtue of his office be President of the Senate, and shall have, when in Committee of the Whole, a right to debate and vote on all questions; and when the Senate is equally divided to give the casting vote.

    (c) In the case of the temporary inability or temporary disqualification of the Governor to serve, the impeachment of the Governor, or the absence of the Governor from the State, the Lieutenant Governor shall exercise the powers and authority appertaining to the office of Governor until the Governor becomes able or qualified to resume serving, is acquitted, or returns to the State.

    (d) If the Governor refuses to serve or becomes permanently unable to serve, or if the office of Governor becomes vacant, the Lieutenant Governor becomes Governor for the remainder of the term being served by the Governor who refused or became unable to serve or vacated the office. On becoming Governor, the person vacates the office of Lieutenant Governor, and the resulting vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor shall be filled in the manner provided by Section 9, Article III, of this Constitution.

    ***

    That duly pointed out, let me confess to being a fan of RR analyses (both as to substance and the elegance of the wording), as are surely many others (though perhaps excluding Dan Patrick or Abbott). That doesn’t mean that quality members of the guild (or the Kommentariat, for that matter) rightfully partake of the infallibility of our Supremes (who get to validate their pronouncements by citing themselves as authority), or that there is something wrong with back-tracking when something turns to be in error.

    – Just sayin’.

    Referenced epitome of seasoned speculation-debunking political analysis:

    Ross Ramsey, “Why would Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick run a race he’s already won? Speculation that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick might want to be governor someday underestimates his current advantages over the current occupant of that office, Gov. Greg Abbott.” TEXAS TRIBUNE (March 18 2021).

    —-
    *) Per her official bio, SOS Ruth Ruggero Hughes “previously served at the Office of the Texas Attorney General as the Director of Defense Litigation, where she was responsible for the successful management and oversight of the civil litigation divisions representing agencies across the state.” — Under AG Greg Abbott.

    See more on background, again of topical interest in connection with “Election Integrity” and the perennial matter of GOP cronyism, here: https://progresstexas.org/blog/5-things-know-about-texas%E2%80%99-new-secretary-state