Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys underground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Let’s eat all of these people!” — Venom

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, February 21, 2021

That Tweet From Caribbean Cruz Didn't Age Well

Ted Cruz, a Hispanic who fled to Mexico from Texas because of ice, had this to say two years ago about Texas's energy grid:

This is the system that Cancun Cruz thinks is a model for everyone:

As millions of customers throughout the state begin to have power restored after days of massive blackouts, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which operates the power grid that covers most of the state, said Texas was dangerously close to a worst-case scenario: uncontrolled blackouts across the state.
...
[ERCOT president Bill] Magness said on Wednesday that if operators had not acted in that moment, the state could have suffered blackouts that “could have occurred for months,” and left Texas in an “indeterminately long” crisis.

And facing very large power bills:

According to the Dallas Morning News, some Texans have been hit with power bills totaling as much as $17,000 for only a few days of electricity, many times more than the usual cost of power in Texas.

That's a bit of an understatement. "Many times" is about "10,000 times".

Still, Texan-style grid reliability and all of the rest is what Flyin' Ted thinks we should have the benefit of.

Heaven forbid.

7 comments:

CenterPuke88 said...

The deal on high bills is a quirk of the “competitive” system for electrical rates implemented in Texas. You can chose your electrical provider, it not your transmission company nor generator. These companies buy power from the generators and reimburse the transmission company on a per kWh and monthly basis. As a result of this scheme, I change providers yearly and generally pay 7-9 cents per kWh.

In the past couple of years, a new scheme appeared, “wholesale” providers, such as Griddy. Griddy works by offering spot wholesale pricing to its customers, with a base monthly fee. In doing so, you become exposed to the fluctuations in power costs, so they offer software/apps to predict and warn of price spikes and advise about preheating/cooling homes to allow minimal power usage during highest cost periods.

A coworker used Griddy in 2019, and paid an average of less than 5 cents a kWh (a fraction of a cent above base costs from the transmission company) for Jan-Jul, until a high demand heatwave struck. At that point, whole prices spiked, and because he wasn’t ready for it, he incurred a $200+ bill for one afternoon of power usage. With the scheme basically making him switch off his A/C between 2 and 5 PM during the summer, he switched plans pretty quickly. These are the people getting $7,000 bills.

There are also a whole lot of customers being auto-switched to the legacy transmission company (TXU), at what the PUC (Public Utility Commission) calls competitive rates, because of a massive group of providers going out of business because of the insane spot/wholesale costs of electricity during this mess. Expect some squealing there too, but in both these cases, the people enjoyed rock-bottom rate for months/years and are now complaining when the bill comes due for that benefit. I have heartburn with a $7,000 electric bill, but I also have heartburn with blindly bailing out people who decide to gamble and reaped a nice benefit for quite some time first.

Dark Avenger said...

I don’t think anyone was gambling except the power providers and the ERCOT managers, the latter of whom could’ve benefitted from having to follow the federal rules instead of being a statewide agency with no public accountability whatsoever.

Ten Bears said...

Soooo ... CP, you're saying it was probably a good thing my mother's power was out.

I'll not disagree ...

The New York Crank said...

Bankrupting thousands and thousands of ordinary people for the cardinal sin of having electrical service for an hour or two is the wisdom of the market, and as we all know, markets are infallible.

God bless free markets that reward the sacred goodness of the entrepreneurial spirit. Trying to regulate electricity so that everybody could have juice in their homes, all the time, at a fair and expectable price, is nothing less than Com-ooo-nism. I know not what kind of electricity others will seek, but as for me, give me lib-ur-tee or gimme death.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Stewart Dean said...

Note that the bandits who made out like bandits were both the energy feed providers and the electricity providers. The first were the folks with the wells and a still functioning piping system that could provide (at the crisis) natgas to the electricity providers' turbines...the second presumably (at first) just passing along the increased cost of the natgas needed to spin the turbines. OTOH, after the competitive market in electricity provision had dropped away, the electricity providers still pumping electrons could charge anything they wanted.
I'd be curious to know which of them were doing the gouging and to what degree throughout this romp in the park.
You could have sold parachutes for a million each on 9/11 to the folks at the top of the WTC in much the same way. Jes' bidness, as they say down there.

Eck! said...

Penny wise pound foolish...

All predictable as they have summer shortages (high prices from Griddy)
and every decade or so snow/ice/cold induced failures.

We have those wholesale providers around here and their come on is
your bill has errors (they want to see it so they can slam you to
theirs. Its a scam and bad planning. Last time they appeared on the
property they were told "Leave now or be escorted off!" in the most
forceful voice I could muster. Criminals.

For those that "saved" depending and, all maybe they did on average,
likely they did not but don't even realize it. Generally they were
scammed by their own state.

The other part the fragile infrastructure resulted in a lot of the
havoc. Example Natural gas as water, get it cold enough and the
water ices up and the pipes get constricted and the volume
transported goes down instant shortage. Everyone down stream
impacted. Generators go off line due to fuel shortage.

Wires ice up and fall down, Switches fail, generators go
off line as there is no load and they cannot run without
a load to keep them from running away (failure).
(same for wind!). Upsets in distribution level always
ripple back to the Generation sources then shut down
regardless of type.

Loose electric and pumps stop and in the cold that may include
freeze damage. That stops water and sewage transport/treatment.
If someone is smart if the water stops and heat stops they turn
water off at service entrance or the home/business or busted
pipes (never cheap).

Natural gas lines and their systems need power and safety
systems that severe cold did shut down. People end up without
power or heat and ability to cook.

What we see is a infrastructure fail. Its not epic as it
happens there every 20 years of so and has happen enough
times in the last several decades years to realize that.

They unfortunately by separating themselves from the rest
of the US deserves being told not a problem for the rest
of us. We formed larger grids and adopted rules, procedures,
and contingency plans to avoid exactly that.

Whats interesting is for the cost of a cheap genset
you can use a disconnect to use your on generator power
cheaper (allowing that gasoline is not cheap) than
Griddy and not pay their kneecap busting prices..

As some say your lack of planning does not constitute an
emergency on my part. Least at the level of rest of the
USA to Texas. Still a lot of small people suffered so
a few can be rich.


Eck!

CenterPuke88 said...

Amusing notes...

1) Griddy told customers to change away from them on the Saturday night because they saw the huge charges coming.

2) Some customers weren't able to, despite trying.

3) On the $7,000 bill, Griddy made less than $7.