Despite Price Declines, Texans Under Deregulation Pay More
Residential electricity prices in areas of Texas with deregulated electricity service have dipped below the national average for the first time in a decade, according to a new report from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.
The lower prices in 2012 represent the fourth consecutive year of declining prices for Texans under electric deregulation. The improving prices parallel a recent decline in electricity-related complaints in Texas.
However, the news is not all good for Texans under deregulation. The new TCAP analysis also shows that Texans in deregulated areas have continued paying significantly more, on average, than Texans outside deregulation. Texans in deregulated areas would have saved more than…
Power companies face grim reality as commodity bets expire
By JAMES OSBORNE
Staff Write, Dallas Morning News
Five years ago, electricity prices were climbing fast and with them, the profits of some of Texas’ largest power companies. But already there was a sense that the high times might not last forever.
Financial trading desks at companies like NRG Energy and Energy Future Holdings Corp. were designing elaborate bets to protect themselves when prices came back to earth. Natural gas prices largely set the price of electricity in the United States.
So they bet on the price of natural gas falling, what traders refer to as shorting. And when it did, executives had a new revenue stream worth billions of dollars a year to make up for the shortfall in electricity sales.
In recent years, hedging programs have aided the power industry through a period of sustained cheap electricity prices brought on by the boom in natural gas drilling. But those hedges are now expiring, leaving power companies exposed to power prices half what they were in…
Is the sky falling?
That’s what state Sen. Troy Fraser wants to know. The chairman of the Senate’s Natural Resources Committee told regulators during a meeting this week that they may be stirring up unwarranted anxiety about the risk in Texas of future blackouts.
This, in turn, has led to an aggressive and unwarranted push to subsidize generators with ratepayer money, said the lawmaker. The Public Utility Commission has been considering such proposals for several months, and last month took a clear step toward authorizing them.
But during a committee meeting in Austin on Monday, Sen. Fraser questioned the cost of the proposals, whether they marked a step away from electric competition — and even whether regulators had the legal authority to take such action.“You give an agency authority and sometimes they forget the Legislature is over here, and we have oversight (authority),” said Sen. Fraser, a Republican from Horse Shoe Bay. “I’m a…
AUSTIN — The Texas Senate’s Natural Resources Committee has called the Public Utility Commission to talk about the pricing of electricity.
Committee Chairman Troy Fraser called commissioners to testify Monday in Austin amid reports it could change the wholesale electricity market.
Commissioners have long debated how to…
Dallas Morning News
Statehouse spars over power market redesign
By James Osborne, bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com
In a hearing before the Senate’s Natural Resources Committee Monday Texas Public Utility Commission Chairman Donna Nelson took tough questioning on her agency’s authority to restructure the state’s electricity market.
The question of whether to modify the market structure to get power companies building again has become a controversial one in Austin, pitting business interests against power interests in a fight that some believe could amount to billions in additional revenues for the power industry.
Nelson, who is widely seen as a proponent…
On Market Decision, Lawmakers Question PUC’s Authority
by Jim Malewitz, The Texas Tribune
A bipartisan panel of state lawmakers grilled the Texas Public Utility Commission on Monday, raising hard-edged questions about the agency’s authority to overhaul Texas’ wholesale electricity market in hopes of ensuring the long-term reliability of the state’s electric grid — a move that would send billions more dollars each year to electricity providers.
In a highly technical and occasionally contentious Senate Committee on Natural Resources hearing, several lawmakers expressed skepticism about the need for a market overhaul and accused the PUC of…
ERCOT panel keeps alive proposal to ban intra-day offer changes
A proposed rule to prevent generators committed in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ day-ahead market from changing real-time energy offer curves in the middle of the day was kept alive at ERCOT’s Wholesale Market Subcommittee meeting Wednesday.
After a lengthy debate, WMS recommended that ERCOT’s Protocol Revision Subcommittee table Nodal Protocol Revision Request 574 and refer it back to WMS, which would refer the issue to the Qualified Scheduling Entity Managers Working Group to “refine the parameters” about when it would be appropriate or inappropriate to allow intra-day energy offer curve changes. The vote was…
Minimum Package Charges, and Why They Matter
By Joe Wilkinson, www.parcelindustry.com
When negotiating a parcel carrier agreement there is an endless number of factors that can be potentially considered and negotiated. To start you will always need to review the discounts on your most commonly used service levels as well as a handful of commonly used accessorial and surcharges; this is and will always be an essential aspect when attaining a competitive agreement. However, many times the details are overlooked and one of the most important and least recognized in parcel pricing is minimum package charges.
I am always surprised by the number of shippers who do not understand the role the minimum package charge plays in parcel costs. Still more believe that the minimum package charge is nonnegotiable. Not so. Like any component of a parcel agreement, concessions are possible. Remember, everything is negotiable.
To better explain the importance let’s consider a…