The Texas Public Utility Commission is taking action to limit the exposure of some customers to the costs of this emergency.
Thousands of Texans will unwittingly be moved to a new utility company as a number of utility companies cannot meet their financial obligations to serve their customers.
In response, in an emergency meeting Friday, the Texas Public Utilities Commission allowed TXU Energy to absorb customers from failing companies and offer them competitive rates.
This happens because, when the cost of electricity soared during the cold snap, some retail power companies could not afford the high wholesale prices, forcing them into financial failure.
A full list of failed electricity providers is not yet available.
The parody of this is that the Public Utility Commission is supposed to make sure these companies are qualified to handle your money. And in many cases, over the years, we’ve found several that don’t and clients are unlucky, said Ed Hirs, who teaches energy policy at the University of Houston.
In the event of such failures, the state transfers the customers of these insolvent companies to a new company, known as the supplier of last resort, or POLR. However, POLR tariffs are generally higher than standard electricity tariffs.
To avoid making customers pay for the failure of network managers, the PUC adopted an emergency resolution to facilitate this transition.
Specifically, he allowed TXU to absorb these stranded customers and bring them to competitive electricity rates instead of emergency rates.
What should customers do if they find out they’ve changed?
Find out how this contract came about. What are their obligations? Whether they can activate the Power to Choose website. If not, see what they can do to break the contract, Hirs said.
PowerToChoose.org is the market where customers can buy electricity in Texas.
There could be another billing problem on the horizon with smart meters.
Normally when a meter gives a reading of zero billing software assumes there has been some sort of problem and bills the customer for a historical average.
The PUC is warning retailers not to do this because they would likely charge customers for energy they haven’t used.
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