Luminant is bringing three coal-fired power units in East Texas back into production sooner than planned as. This past fall, the Dallas-based electricity generator idled the plants, saying low wholesale power prices didn’t justify their operation. Now it says it will bring two units – one each at Monticello and Martin Lake – back online by Saturday. A third unit at Monticello is scheduled to be back online by March 1. Together, the three units have combined capacity of 1,880 megawatts, enough to power more than 900,000 typical Texas residences during a period of average demand.
So the news is getting better for Texans who want a reliable, affordable supply of electricity, while it gets worse for generators and Wall Street financiers pushing for an a $3.2 billion electricity tax to fund corporate subsidies.
isn’t stopping the generators, though. They keep running ads proclaiming that “Texas is on course … for regular rolling blackouts in a few short years.”
So even as Sen. Troy Fraser observes, “There is no crisis,” and the American-Statesman declares that “doing nothing is now an option,” rest assured that generators and the PUC will try to do something in the Texas Legislature in 2015. Most likely they will push for a “competitive, reliability market” that hides the corporate subsidies way down in the fine print.
They’ll stand a pretty good chance, too, as legislators often feel the need to do something; doing nothing isn’t usually favored in the political process–even when it is the right thing to do.
To help legislators who feel the need to do something actually do the right thing, the Foundation will be releasing in the not-too-distant future its recommendations for improving the reliability of the Texas market. Our recommendations, though, will focus on increasing competition, not increasing regulation. They will focus on reducing government intervention, not increasing it. And they will show that these alternatives are far better than the alternative of forcing Texas consumers to pay billions of dollars annually to multi-billion dollar generation and financial firms.