winter storm

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Calls on ERCOT to Correct $16 Billion Error During Winter Storm

"Correcting this $16 billion error will require an adjustment, but it is the right thing to do"

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
NBC 5 News

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called on the Texas Public Utilities Commission and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to correct the emergency pricing error that continued after the power shortage ended and the major threat to the Texas grid passed.

"We are continuing to investigate the power outages of the Feb. 15 arctic blast which plunged millions of Texans into darkness," Patrick said. "In response to grid-wide power shortages starting Feb. 15, the PUC ordered ERCOT to institute the $9,000 per megawatt-hour cost cap, which is designed to encourage increased power generation during an extreme shortage."

According to the Independent Market Monitor, ERCOT incorrectly extended that pricing intervention after the power shortage had ended, according to a statement from the Lt. Governor's office.

The $9,000 price should have ended at 11:55 p.m. on Feb. 17, but it continued throughout the entire day of Feb. 18 into Feb. 19, Patrick's office said.

Patrick's office said the continuation of the $9,000 price for 32 hours in total resulted in an additional $16 billion in charges.

"The IMM is Potomac Economics, an independent economics and engineering firm that has served as ERCOT's market monitor for the past 16 years," Patrick said. "It is their job to identify mistakes and recommend action. We have learned they contacted ERCOT on Thursday, Feb. 18, to inform them their pricing was incorrect, but ERCOT ignored their recommendation."

Patrick said the IMM identified a second error in which ERCOT failed to cap ancillary service prices at $9,000, resulting in prices rising as high as $24,000 a megawatt-hour at intervals during the storm.

"Pricing should never have exceeded the $9,000 cap at any time," Patrick said. "The IMM has recommended that the PUC exercise their authority to direct ERCOT to correct both these pricing errors, but they have declined to do so. ERCOT has a procedure for correcting pricing errors, but has also declined to act so far."

Patrick said according to ERCOT Nodal Protocol Section 6.3 (6) (a), ERCOT has 30 days from the event to correct errors in pricing.

"Today I am calling on both the PUC and ERCOT to follow the recommendations of the IMM and correct these mistakes," Patrick said. "Correcting this $16 billion error will require an adjustment, but it is the right thing to do. It will ultimately benefit consumers and is one important step we can take now to begin to fix what went wrong in the storm."

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