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Eldorado

Utility firms price gouging as Texans suffer

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Eldorado

Over the last week, millions of Texans were without power, drinkable water, and other essentials during the massive winter storm that hit the state.

For those who were lucky enough to never lose electricity or only lose it intermittently, their utility companies are now making sure they regret their good fortune.

Texans who used even a tiny bit of electricity during the storm have been reporting massive utility bills.

Many are being charged thousands of dollars for one week of power.

Full article at the Mary Sue: Link

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Liquid Gardens
2 minutes ago, Eldorado said:

Texans who used even a tiny bit of electricity during the storm have been reporting massive utility bills.

I don't think this qualifies as price gouging, this utility pricing structure is what Texans agreed to.  These same Texans have also been enjoying lower utility bills for a while now, that was their reward for accepting the risk of what just happened.

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Gromdor

$16,000 for a week's bill seems a bit like price gouging.  I mean isn't the definition pretty much the unreasonable price rise after a supply or demand shock?

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Peter B
15 minutes ago, Gromdor said:

$16,000 for a week's bill seems a bit like price gouging.  I mean isn't the definition pretty much the unreasonable price rise after a supply or demand shock?

Sorry, could you explain this more, please.

My understanding is that people signed up to contracts in which they agreed the price for their retail electricity would be based on the wholesale electricity price from time to time. The wholesale price sky-rocketed, and the retail price matched it. Surely these are the sorts of decisions that all consumers have to make in a variety of situations, especially when it comes to deciding the size of your insurance excess?

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Peter B
1 hour ago, Eldorado said:

Over the last week, millions of Texans were without power, drinkable water, and other essentials during the massive winter storm that hit the state.

For those who were lucky enough to never lose electricity or only lose it intermittently, their utility companies are now making sure they regret their good fortune.

Texans who used even a tiny bit of electricity during the storm have been reporting massive utility bills.

Many are being charged thousands of dollars for one week of power.

Full article at the Mary Sue: Link

I get the impression from the article that there are two sorts of problems.

On the one hand there are the people whose contracts mean their retail electricity price is based on the wholesale price (which I commented on above).

But there also appears to be someone claiming they didn't use nearly as much electricity as their provider says they did.

While I'd suggest the first case is an example of buyer beware, the second case sounds like it needs to be investigated.

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aztek

why isn't Biden  doing anything about that??  now that i think of it ,i can't remember him addressing that or even attempt to help the situation at all, like it was half the world away,   if we only had strong leadership in the white house......

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joc

well, the end all of end all of all of this is ....no...no one is going to be paying outrageous bills.  The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott...put a moratorium on shutting off anyone's power due to non-payment of bills until they get this all straightened out.  

Thank  you Governor.

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joc
2 minutes ago, aztek said:

why isn't Biden  doing anything about that??  now that i think of it ,i can't remember him addressing that or even attempt to help the situation at all, like it was half the world away,   if we only had strong leadership in the white house......

Come on man!  Give the guy a break!!   What do you want...for him to govern or cure cancer?  Please make up your little right wing mind!

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Gromdor
26 minutes ago, aztek said:

why isn't Biden  doing anything about that??  now that i think of it ,i can't remember him addressing that or even attempt to help the situation at all, like it was half the world away,   if we only had strong leadership in the white house......

Dang, he already granted the Emergency Declaration and gave them emergency funds and now you want him to help with their price gouging problems too?  We gotta let the Texans keep some pride.  Getting $2 million from AOC while their Senator ran off to Mexico was bad enough.

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psyche101
2 hours ago, Gromdor said:

$16,000 for a week's bill seems a bit like price gouging.  I mean isn't the definition pretty much the unreasonable price rise after a supply or demand shock?

That does seem ridiculous. Nobody should be held to that. 

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joc
2 hours ago, Gromdor said:

Getting $2 million from AOC while their Senator ran off to Mexico was bad enough

Just to be clear...Ted Cruz did not...run off to Mexico...he like by brother in laws brother...had plans to go to Cancun with their families long before this storm hit.  And I didn't really see Cruz's name on the list of people who run ERCOT..but then again he is a Republican so...

Haters gonna Hate

Edited by joc
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Gromdor
3 minutes ago, joc said:

Just to be clear...Ted Cruz did not...run off to Mexico...he like by brother in laws brother...had plans to go to Cancun with their families long before this storm hit.  And I didn't really see Cruz's name on the list of people who run ERCOT..but then again he is a Republican so...

Haters gonna Hate

That's not what he said.  He said that school was cancelled, the power was out, and his daughter wanted to go to Mexico so being a good dad, he took them. How Is Ted Cruz Trying to Defend His Cancún Vacation Now? (nymag.com)

Who told you that it was pre-planned months in advance?

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joc
1 minute ago, Gromdor said:

That's not what he said.  He said that school was cancelled, the power was out, and his daughter wanted to go to Mexico so being a good dad, he took them. How Is Ted Cruz Trying to Defend His Cancún Vacation Now? (nymag.com)

Who told you that it was pre-planned months in advance?

I thought that is what I heard him say ...but then...Teddy lied about Trump all through the campaign of 2016   so   yeah

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Occupational Hubris
2 hours ago, Gromdor said:

Dang, he already granted the Emergency Declaration and gave them emergency funds and now you want him to help with their price gouging problems too?  We gotta let the Texans keep some pride.  Getting $2 million from AOC while their Senator ran off to Mexico was bad enough.

5 million. 

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and then
5 hours ago, aztek said:

why isn't Biden  doing anything about that??  now that i think of it ,i can't remember him addressing that or even attempt to help the situation at all, like it was half the world away,   if we only had strong leadership in the white house......

It will be interesting to see if the usury is allowed and if these folks refuse to pay it, will they be disconnected.

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Tatetopa
5 hours ago, aztek said:

why isn't Biden  doing anything about that??  now that i think of it ,i can't remember him addressing that or even attempt to help the situation at all, like it was half the world away,   if we only had strong leadership in the white house......

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/president-biden-declares-major-disaster-texas-following-severe-winter-storm-n1258442

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster for much of Texas as the state reels from a severe winter storm that left millions of people without power amid freezing temperatures.

Biden's action makes federal funding available to communities across 77 counties, including hard-hit Harris County, where Houston is located. Additional disaster designations may be made after further damage assessments, the White House said Saturday morning in a statement.

“I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need.”

You might have missed it because it was on MSM. In addition to releasing the making funding available he has made a couple of statements.  The Texas power grid is independent of the rest of the US power grid.  That is the way Texas wanted it and they have a right to choose to do so.  We as private citizens can offer voluntary aid just as we do for other emergencies like floods and hurricanes.  The federal government can offer humanitarian disaster assistance both in supplies and personnel.

What kind of strong leadership would you like that would still respect the rights of states and not be a liberal take over of their rights? The state must be allowed to coordinate help and take the lead in this.

But, he is going down to see what is happening and maybe he will throw some paper towels to the crowd.

 

 

 

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RAyMO

I have read that Texas was not connected to the national grid - so when things went belly up with there was no external supply to call on. 

This isolationist policy needs chucked asap. 

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joc
3 hours ago, RAyMO said:

I have read that Texas was not connected to the national grid - so when things went belly up with there was no external supply to call on. 

This isolationist policy needs chucked asap. 

Maybe you should not listen to what stupid people say...it kind of has a habit of rubbing off on you.

Here...let me educate you with something other than what you read in the NYT.

The United States National Grid (USNG) is a multi-purpose location system of grid references used in the United States. It provides a nationally consistent "language of location", optimized for local applications, in a compact, user friendly format. It is similar in design to the national grid reference systems used in other countries.  link

 

 

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joc

THE QUESTION

Does Texas have an independent power grid? What does that mean?

THE ANSWER

Yes, most of Texas’ power supply is connected to a grid entirely within state lines. It is one of three power grids in the country: a western power grid, an eastern power grid and the Texas grid.

That means the connections Texas has to other grids is limited, which in turn limits the amount of power that can be transferred from other grids to Texas and vice versa.  link

 

Texas  is also a Republic.  Just sayin'

 

Edited by joc
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Setton
7 minutes ago, joc said:

Maybe you should not listen to what stupid people say...it kind of has a habit of rubbing off on you.

Here...let me educate you with something other than what you read in the NYT.

The United States National Grid (USNG) is a multi-purpose location system of grid references used in the United States. It provides a nationally consistent "language of location", optimized for local applications, in a compact, user friendly format. It is similar in design to the national grid reference systems used in other countries.  link

 

 

 

2 minutes ago, joc said:

THE QUESTION

Does Texas have an independent power grid? What does that mean?

THE ANSWER

Yes, most of Texas’ power supply is connected to a grid entirely within state lines. It is one of three power grids in the country: a western power grid, an eastern power grid and the Texas grid.

That means the connections Texas has to other grids is limited, which in turn limits the amount of power that can be transferred from other grids to Texas and vice versa.  link

 

Texas  is also a Republic.  Just sayin'

 

Are you... arguing with yourself now?

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pallidin

Yeah... and I read that several top company leaders of that electric distribution company, including its chairman, have resigned amid the public outcry.

Also, Texas governor Abbott signed an executive order establishing an immediate moratorium on electric bills.

Similarly, an emergency session of top officials and the Texas legislature has been convened to address the possibility of immediate full state financial compensation of those grossly insane electric bills.

A class-action lawsuit against the electric company is also in the pipeline.

There is simply no excuse for this "in-your-face greed", contract or not, and the governor is p***ed.

 

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Liquid Gardens
4 minutes ago, pallidin said:

There is simply no excuse for this "in-your-face greed", contract or not, and the governor is p***ed.

It's tough to get clear information and I'm not sure of all the factors that go into market pricing for utilities, but it's more complicated than the typical 'price gouging' where food or bottled water or what-not is jacked up in an emergency.  Furthermore, this is what these people agreed to, and it came back to bite them.  If someone makes a bad investment knowing the risks and loses all their money, I doubt many would argue we should bail them out.  I don't think they should go without electricity in an emergency, but I'm not sure they should be let off the hook for these bills.

This article talks a little about it: https://apnews.com/article/texas-high-electric-bills-explained-aa77ff97be48bf2c8fabfdc2e4a6d08c.  Choice quote: "Rhodes said bailing out customers may be a hard sell since they opted to pay wholesale prices and may have paid a much lower price than others for some time.".

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pallidin
Just now, Liquid Gardens said:

It's tough to get clear information and I'm not sure of all the factors that go into market pricing for utilities, but it's more complicated than the typical 'price gouging' where food or bottled water or what-not is jacked up in an emergency.  Furthermore, this is what these people agreed to, and it came back to bite them.  If someone makes a bad investment knowing the risks and loses all their money, I doubt many would argue we should bail them out.  I don't think they should go without electricity in an emergency, but I'm not sure they should be let off the hook for these bills.

This article talks a little about it: https://apnews.com/article/texas-high-electric-bills-explained-aa77ff97be48bf2c8fabfdc2e4a6d08c.  Choice quote: "Rhodes said bailing out customers may be a hard sell since they opted to pay wholesale prices and may have paid a much lower price than others for some time.".

I don't care about "who agreed to what"!

There are many thousands of legal precedents around the country where judges have ruled that a specific contract, though signed by both parties, is egregiously against common sense; thus null, void and unenforceable, potentially requiring court, State and/or Federal intervention.

And governor Abbott agrees.

 

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razman

i really dont see how a natural disaster affecting power should affect wholsale pricing.

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pallidin
10 minutes ago, razman said:

i really dont see how a natural disaster affecting power should affect wholsale pricing.

Of course not. It's greedy, it's predatory, and a few other words.

Not to mention clearly unethical.

This issue is being aggressively addressed within the highest levels and legislative priorities of the Texas state government, so things are going to happen fairly quick to help the affected citizens.

Governor Abbott respects his state, and is listening to the cries of those who can not pay for food or their home because of the rapist mentality of the privatized, unregulated utility company.

 

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