ERCOT bill uncertain as PUC chair is caught in call promising profits: Report

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Rise and fall of Texas bill to force ERCOT from overcharging
What led the Texas Senate to push through a bill to stop ERCOT from overcharging customers? The video explains.

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- A bill that would have forced the reversal of more than $6 billion in electricity overcharges by the state's grid operator won't get a vote on the House floor, according to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

However, Speaker of the House Dade Phelan Tuesday afternoon said no conversation had taken place between the two men and that Phelan would "refer all proposed legislation, including SB2142, to an appropriate committee with jurisdiction."

Almost immediately, Patrick fired back, saying the "clock is ticking".

The news comes as Texas Monthly reported Public Utilities Chair Arthur D'Andrea apologized to Bank of America for the delay in profits and promised "the weight of the commission" behind efforts to stop repricing.

On the floor of the Texas Senate Tuesday, Patrick angrily ended session, blasting the holdup.

"The Texas Senate stood for individuals," he said. "The House stood for big business."

READ ALSO: TX Senate scrambles to advance bill forcing ERCOT to reprice winter storm energy charges

Senate Bill 2142 would have forced the Public Utility Commission to fix the error, something it so far has yet to agree to do. It passed in the Senate in a fast vote 27-3 on Monday.

SEE ALSO: Gov. Abbott names ERCOT $16 billion billing error correction as legislative emergency item

The battle over "repricing" or fixing the error has set up a political battle of Herculean proportions, pitting Patrick against Phelan and now places Gov. Greg Abbott in the spotlight as to what we will do next.

Abbott has agreed with the PUC's only member still remaining, chair Arthur D'Andrea, who has testified in committee hearings that he can't reverse the prices.

SEE ALSO: Will lawmakers really change the Texas grid?

Abbott penned a letter to Patrick saying only the legislature can fix the issue.

The error stems from prices ERCOT charged for power in the days after a massive winter storm cut the power to millions of Texans. For at least 36 hours, ERCOT kept prices at sky-high levels, instead of reducing them as power came back online, causing billions in overages.

An independent watchdog agency caught the error and stated initially the error was $16 billion, but lowered the amount that ERCOT was directly responsible for to $6 billion.