Another Texas utility facing sky-high electric bills requests help from PUCT

Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative, a not-for profit rural electric generation and transmission cooperative that provides the wholesale power to four rural electric distribution cooperatives in Northeast Texas, today announced it has filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to order the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to suspending invoicing, billing and collection of charges related to February’s massive energy market failure.

This announcement follows the letter from the ERCOT Independent Market Monitor stating that ERCOT erroneously overcharged market participants by $16 billion.

During the February Storm, Rayburn and its four members provided service with minimal operational disruption to 225,000 customers, 90% of whom are residential. The unprecedented cold weather saw electric energy demand surge and Rayburn relied on ERCOT to supply a portion of the energy for its members and their consumers. As a result, however, the charges invoiced by ERCOT stand to cause Texans financial devastation, with sky-high bills from the basic failure of the energy markets.  

“Rayburn, like many energy market participants, has been engaging with ERCOT in an effort to prevent significant financial harm on Rayburn, its Members, and their consumers,” said David Naylor, President and CEO of Rayburn.

“Now, based on the Independent Market Monitor’s letter, we can see that ERCOT may have overcharged market participants by $16 billion. Unless ERCOT works with Rayburn and others market participants, millions of Texans will suffer and hundreds of Texas businesses could fail. The PUCT and ERCOT have the power to stop this failure. We need to work together to find fair, reasonable, and achievable solutions.” 

The Petition requests that the PUCT order ERCOT:

  1. to refrain from sending any additional invoices or settlement statements for electric energy or collateral calls,
  2. to issue a formal forbearance notice and suspend the obligation to pay or settle any such invoices that have been or are subsequently delivered,
  3. to refrain from sending any notice of breach or default for failure to pay such invoices or settlement statements, and
  4. to refrain from terminating any agreement with ERCOT, for or relating to power purchases and sales during the period of February 14, 2021 through and including February 19, 2021, until the Texas executive and legislative branches have time to investigate, address and resolve the issues related to the February Storm and the resulting financial crisis in the ERCOT market on a statewide basis across the entire energy industry.  
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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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