Texas Gov. Says PUC Can't Re-price ERCOT Market; Only Legislature Can Provide Relief Sought By Lt. Gov.
March 12, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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In response to further calls from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that the Texas PUC should re-price the ERCOT market due to what Patrick says are "errors" in the pricing during the winter weather event, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that the PUC is not able to provide Patrick's sought relief.
Abbott's response was prompted by a letter from Patrick in which Patrick had asked Abbott to "intercede" on the issue of re-pricing (Patrick's letter is discussed further below)
Abbott wrote in a letter to Patrick that, "It is clear to me there is a difference of opinion of whether there was a billing error or there was a deliberate decision to take action to save the lives of Texans in their homes. That issue will ultimately be decided by courts."
"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. 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," Abbott wrote
Patrick had said in an earlier statement that, "The fact is ERCOT has the authority to correct the error if they are ordered by the PUC to do so. The PUC has the authority to direct ERCOT to lower the price pursuant to Utilities Code § 39.151 (d)."
Patrick stated, "Senator Huffman put it succinctly in the hearing when she asked 'which market do you think has more integrity? A market we know has an error but does nothing about it or a market where we recognize an error that was created by some type of government intervention and we do correct it?'"
"The findings of the Senate Jurisprudence Committee are clear – the pricing errors of February 18 and 19 must be corrected and the PUC should direct ERCOT to correct them immediately," Patrick said
"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
"I am also asking Gov. Abbott to replace [PUC Chair] 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. I believe most Texans who watched the Senate Jurisprudence hearing would conclude that D’Andrea should not have full authority over ERCOT or be part of the solution moving forward," Patrick said