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Power generators must winterize in Texas

The Public Utility Commission approved regulation for weatherization, calling it “phase one.”

AUSTIN, Texas — The Public Utility Commission of Texas will now enforce winter weatherizing recommendations made a decade ago.

Energy providers will follow recommendations from the “2011 Report on Outages and Curtailments During the Southwest Cold Weather Event on February 1-5, 2011," and the 2012 Quanta Report.

Providers must also fix “any known, acute issues that arose from winter weather conditions during the 2020-2021 winter weather season,” PUC filings show.

The decision is phase one.

“The phase two weather emergency preparedness reliability standards will consist of a more comprehensive, year-round set of weather emergency preparedness reliability standards that will be informed by a robust weather study that is currently being conducted by ERCOT in consultation with the Office of the Texas State Climatologist,” filings show.

This comes as The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts higher energy prices this winter. Propane is expected to go up 43%, the Winter Fuels Outlook shows. Natural gas may increase by nearly 22%.

For CenterPoint Energy, which sells natural gas in Austin, prices are already higher than last year in four different charge areas:

  • Customer charge
  • Storage inventory
  • Gas cost adjustment
  • GRIP Surcharge

The Austin City Council approves Austin Energy rates. Council members did not increase electricity rates for next year. 

Austin Energy officials say the power supply adjustment will be decreasing by 6.5% due to power supply generation revenues during the winter storms. Additionally, the Regulatory Charge is increasing by 19.5% due to charges associated with the use of the ERCOT transmission system and costs assessed by various regulatory bodies. The Energy Efficiency portion of the Community Benefit Charge will remain unchanged, according to Austin Energy.

"What that means for residential customers is that they will see little to no effect on their overall monthly bills," an Austin Energy spokesperson told KVUE.

Both Austin Water and Austin Energy will continue a 10-15% reduction in electric, water and wastewater rates for customers enrolled in the City of Austin’s Customer Assistance Program for the entirety of Fiscal Year 2022.

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