Re-pricing of ERCOT energy prices during winter storm would negatively impact Austin Energy customers

March 10, 2021

Today, Austin Energy filed comments with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) opposing re-pricing of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ (ERCOT) wholesale energy prices during the February 2021 Winter Storm. Retroactive price changes would harm Austin Energy customers because Austin Energy would not be compensated for costs incurred to generate power to help the grid during the emergency event.

Austin Energy’s generation assets help keep rates stable for its customers. Any revenue earned through generation is used to lower the power supply adjustment on customers’ bills. If re-pricing occurs, costs would be unfairly shifted to Austin Energy’s customers.

Austin Energy made difficult operational decisions throughout this winter storm event, during a time of unprecedentedly high natural gas prices, to ensure the stability of the grid based on energy prices in effect under the PUC’s order. These prices were not the result of an ERCOT system “error” but were intentionally set to maintain the stability of the system and provide the appropriate pricing signals to ensure sufficient generation remained online as load was restored and conditions remained tight.

Austin Energy manages a large, diverse generation resource portfolio, operates as a transmission and distribution utility, and provides retail electricity service to more than 500,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers. As a not-for-profit municipally owned utility, Austin Energy acts in the best interest of its customers. As outlined in Austin Energy’s comments to the PUC, re-pricing would harm Austin Energy’s customers and should be rejected.