US Power Provider Griddy Defends Itself After Ban From Operating in Texas Amid Storm Furor
Republicans use Texas power outages to spread false claims about green energy
Republican politicians are using the widespread power outages in Texas to place false blame on renewable energy. Millions in the state were without power following a massive winter storm that brought snow and freezing temperatures to the region as a second storm loomed nearby.
Wholesale retail electric provider Griddy Electric missed required payments to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), resulting in Griddy losing its right to operate in the state while about 10,000 customers were transitioned to other services.
"It was not a choice that we made," Griddy defended itself in a statement posted toFriday.
Texas' woes foreshadows future climate-change disasters
Hot-weather infrastructure and an isolated power grid have left the state unprepared for extreme weather.The storm, which froze nuclear facilities, coal and gas power stations, and wind turbines, offers a cautionary tale of how extreme weather can paralyze critical energy facilities and throw vast swaths of country into chaos. Across the U.S., experts says, states like Texas are largely unprepared for a range of climate emergencies, from Arctic-like cold in warmer regions to widespread flooding, droughts, wildfires and other symptoms of a rapidly heating planet.
According to a market notice, Griddy's market participation was officially revoked that same day under ERCOT protocols due to a "payment breach."
#gogriddy pic.twitter.com/qiUu4l7GUR— Griddy (@GoGriddy) February 27, 2021
The move comes after Texans suffered, with residents .
Griddy was among the providers that sent out huge bills, shocking customers.
"We have always been transparent and customer-centric at every step," Griddy's statement said. "We wanted to continue the fight for our members to get relief and that hasn't changed."
Griddy explained why the charges were so high in a February 18 blog post, stating the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) demanded that ERCOT raise prices to $9/kWh to reflect scarcity of supply during the storm—but then PUCT kept those high prices even after power started turning back on for Texans.
Texas Pays the Price of the Culture War
Instead of focusing on governance, Republican politicians in the Lone Star State spent their time inflaming grievances.We were among the millions of Texans who lost power when a massive winter storm brought the temperature down to the single digits. In Houston, a woman and child accidentally suffocated themselves with carbon monoxide trying to stay warm in their car. Two people in Austin died in a fire that likely resulted from an attempt to stay warm. Here in San Antonio, a man in his 70s was found dead, apparently from exposure.
"As of today, 99% of homes have their power restored and available generation was well above the 1,000 MW cushion," the blog post read. "Yet, the PUCT left the directive in place and continued to force prices to $9/kWh, approximately 300x higher than the normal wholesale price."
Griddy charges $10 per month to its customers. However, some customers were facing costs close to $10,000 for the week of the storm, according to The Texas Tribune.
Griddy's exclusion from the market is the latest in what is becoming a massive financial fallout in Texas caused by the severe storm.
ERCOT announced in another market notice Friday that overall, Texas electric providers failed to make $2.12 billion in required payments. Electric providers normally pay ERCOT, which operates the state's electric grid, according to the Tribune. More payments were owed than usual this time around because of the spike in cost for each hour of electricity spurred by the winter storm.
Texas Electricity Bills Reach $ 17,000
© Bloomberg / Getty Images Texas Electricity Bills Reach $ 17,000 Faced with a historic cold spell, many Texans have an energy contract that the amount varies according to the request. In recent days, temperatures have dropped to -18 ° in Texas. Like part of the United States, this state is facing a historic cold spell. In addition to cuts to electricity or drinking water, some of its residents are facing another problem: the explosion in the amount of their electricity bills.
ERCOT has now decided to crack down on its unpaid bills, prompting Griddy's shutdown in the Lone Star State.
"On the same day when ERCOT announced that it had a $2.1 billion shortfall, it decided to take this action against only one company that represents a tiny fraction of the market and that shortfall," Griddy said in its statement Friday.
ERCOT said on Friday it would use $800 million from a revenue account to cover some of the shortfall, according to The Wall Street Journal, leaving a gap of $1.32 billion it will need to make up.
On Wednesday,for the severe blackouts amid mounting lawsuits from frustrated residents.
Newsweek has reached out to PUCT, ERCOT and Griddy for comment.
As Texans went without heat, light or water, some companies scored a big payday .
The nation's most deregulated energy economy was supposed to be a win for consumers, and for energy companies nimble enough to do business in a bustling, cacophonous market. But a cold snap shattered it last week.The nation’s most deregulated energy economy was supposed to be a win for consumers and for energy companies nimble enough to do business in a bustling, cacophonous market. But the cold snap — rare but by no means unprecedented — shattered it last week, plunging consumers into misery and leaving a badly prepared and dislocated energy sector in pieces.