ERCOT tells Texans to conserve electricity through Friday

It was freezing just a few months ago. Who knew weather could change so quickly?

It’s just so confusing. Probably Biden’s fault.

I suspect so, considering that we’re about 3-4 days from temperatures near 100, and Ercot has already issued a press release saying that they’re prepared and ready for the hot weather. I can’t recall that ever being the case in the past.

I kind of suspect we won’t see rolling blackouts next week. It’s not going to be unusually hot- just around 100, which isn’t generally rolling blackout territory. North of 103 is where that’s located in my recollection.

Remember back in 1973 when some Texans said that Yankees should freeze in the dark?

Texas’s current energy market model was created in the 1990s and uses prices alone to encourage power generation, said Oliver Kerr, USA lead for Aurora Energy Research. It built scarcity into the system by design, he said.

“In this market, you need those times when the lights almost go out to incentivize new generation or old generation to stick around,” Kerr said. “Right now, the market is functioning exactly as designed.”

To bolster reliability, ER-COT adds a “bonus” to power prices when the capacity margin — the amount of generation in excess of demand — is getting low. This so-called scarcity pricing means prices for power can soar to as much as $9,000 a megawatt hour in Texas when grid conditions are tight or that they can tumble into negative territory when there’s too much power.

Kerr said the PUC or ER-COT could use the scarcity pricing mechanism to raise power prices before grid conditions get as tight as they were during the February freeze and in June, when about15 percent of the grid’s capacity went offline unexpectedly during heat wave. The agencies could also pay generators for their existing capacity to entice them to stay online and to do more maintenance.

My bold.

That bolded statement doesn’t seem like the proper way for a public utility to do business. Explain to me like I’m five years old. Or three.

So public utilities aren’t public utilities in Texas? I know that when I lived in the country, I could choose which electric company I wanted to deal with. Is this similar to what happened when the phone company was broken up into the Baby Bells?

Is this the “free market” Republicans are so fond of, as opposed to the Socialist way of making sure public works actually work because they’re run on tax revenue not the whims of the marketplace?

Yes. Also the Green New Deal. And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Probably Ilhan Omar, too. And all those library drag queens.

Meanwhile, I feel sorry for the customer service reps and the line crews. They have no control over the corporate idiocy that creates the disastrously crappy service, but as the public face of the company they’ll catch the flak.

I think something like 2/3 of the country may be under a ‘hot dome’. If you thought the desert was hot a few weeks ago, get the popcorn.

I am skeptical how well a request for conservation will go over in a state for which much of the population lives by the motto of “I got mine, fuck y’all”

In this case, it’s really more “you left me to sit in a dark cold house for a week, and now you want me to do you a favor? Fuck you. Fix this.”

Yet, come November, they will still vote for the same idiots who created this mess in the first place. While I don’t want anyone to suffer in the coming heat (or next winter’s cold), I am hoping that this finally gets the Republicans out of Austin. Of course, we Texas Democrats are quite skilled at shooting ourselves in the boot.

Texas is so thoroughly gerrymandered and skewed towards Republicans that it’ll be difficult getting a Democratic majority in their legislature, or getting them to swing blue in a presidential election. In 2020, the governor ordered that only one drop box would be allowed per county-- be it for a tiny Republican county, or the massive Democratic county that houses (I wanna say) Houston.

Yep, that county would be Harris County. Remember, tiny is a relative term around here. We have counties that are geographically larger than some states yet have populations smaller than a single apartment building in those states. Then there is Harris County, which has a population larger than most states.

The Republican state leaders aren’t even shy about it. The Attorney General bragged that Trump may have lost Texas if it weren’t for the drop box nonsense. Some regulations have been proposed that would only apply to counties with populations larger than 500,000. Why would anyone want to do that??? Hmmm. Just a look at the list of acceptable photo IDs reveals the actual agenda at play here.

The biggest county in Texas: Brewster: 6192 Square Miles
Rhode Island: 1214 Square miles

Delaware and Connecticut are also smaller than Brewster County.

Population of Brewster County is 9,231 (in 2019)
Population of Rhode Island is 1.059 million (in 2019)