• stankmut
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      1011 month ago

      They did change one thing. You used to be able to get electricity at wholesale prices from certain providers. When the rates went crazy during the 2021 storm and people’s crazy bills for turning on the lamp blew up on the news, they shut down that option.

      These rate surges do hurt customers, but now it’s in the form of rate increases when their contract expires.

    • @[email protected]
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      611 month ago

      Rationality is out of the window. Ideology is the new religion. They don’t want to become “socialists” even though they don’t know what it truly means.

      • FlashMobOfOne
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        191 month ago

        It’s almost scary to think of how bad it would have to get in order for voters to tick the boxes for Greens or Libertarians.

        Like, how badly do these fuckers have to fail before you’re willing to shed your partisan jersey and vote to your own benefit?

    • FlashMobOfOne
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      371 month ago

      Correct.

      Didn’t the state basically re-elect everyone who oversaw that shit show?

    • @[email protected]
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      201 month ago

      It’s absolutely wild. The last time around, people died, and a lot more were put into financial hardship due to the shitty, hypercapitalist energy infrastructure. People were rightly ripshit angry about it.

      And then nothing was done about any of it.

      And then people keep voting for the politicians who created and perpetuated the situation.

      It’s really hard to keep giving a shit about people who actively work and vote to make their own lives worse.

    • downpunxx
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      161 month ago

      well we did learn that when shit hits the fan Rafael Edward Cruz likes taking vacay down south of de border way

    • @[email protected]
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      121 month ago

      Desire for more money overrides literally every other thought for those who have the most

    • KillingTimeItself
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      111 month ago

      they almost learned nothing. The grid almost shutdown this time, instead of shutting down…

  • @[email protected]
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    1451 month ago

    Welcome to your deregulated “free market”, Texas. Don’t want to be tied to government regulation? Guess you get to pay more or cook…or freeze. Your choice by season.

    • @[email protected]
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      481 month ago

      This is Enron-scale manipulation. Someone’s ripping off the public and making a mint with the help of the regulators.

      • @[email protected]
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        311 month ago

        Jerry Jones, yeah same one that owns the Cowboys, made almost $1B off the price hikes durning the big freeze that almost crippled the grid.

      • @[email protected]
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        1 month ago

        The vast majority of Texans are on contracted plans and pay a consistent price per kilowatt.

        That doesn’t mean prices won’t skyrocket when that contract renews though

  • @[email protected]
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    1 month ago

    It’s not a coincidence that Texas is a hotbed of development for “microgrid” systems to cover for when ERCOT shits the bed – and of course all those systems are made up of diesel and natural gas generator farms, because Texans don’t want any of that communist solar power!

    I’ve got family in Texas who love it there for some reason, but there’s almost no amount of money you could pay me to move there. Bad enough when I have to work on projects in the state – contrary to the popular narrative, in my personal opinion it’s a worse place than California to try and build something, and that’s entirely to do with the personalities that seem to gravitate to positions of power there. I’d much rather slog through the bureaucracy in Cali than tiptoe around a tinpot dictator in the planning department.

    • @[email protected]
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      521 month ago

      Not to mention their Governor, who seems to be in a race with FL’s Governor for the “evil monster of the century award.”

    • @[email protected]
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      141 month ago

      I am a power grid engineer and we are quoting multiple solar systems with BESS capabilities a month for Texas. It’s not all diesel.

      • @[email protected]
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        101 month ago

        I exaggerate – but Magic Rock is doing booming business installing strings of natural gas generators at Buc-ee’s across the state, and I’m currently dealing with an institutional client who wanted to provide backup power for a satellite campus, and didn’t even stop to consider battery-backed PV on the way to asking for a natural gas generator farm.

    • @[email protected]
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      71 month ago

      At least we’re trying to make reforms to our bureaucracy here in California, the problems mostly originate on the county and city levels. As for why the state is/was rather decentralized relatively speaking, well its cause we roughly the size of Great Britain (the island not the empire) and half the state is mountainous to some degree.

      • @[email protected]
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        201 month ago

        You didn’t answer their question though. You gave an example of how power companies are doing, not how texans are doing.

        Also, if Texas is having record solar installations, why is power so expensive?

        • @[email protected]
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          1 month ago

          While I don’t think the way Texas has the regulations setup is a good idea, one has to look more at the ‘whole picture’ and do the math. Is the low cost periods low enough that when you get ‘gouged’ by the spikes, what was the total average cost? If the spikes are taken as a average over time, then maybe it works out in the consumer’s favor or at worst break even, then it might be worth it. Or maybe it doesn’t But I honestly don’t know. I don’t have the numbers in front of me to do the math, I’m a 1000+ miles away from Texas.

          Edit to add: I don’t know just how much extra electricity Texas will need to buy, but I would assume they will be buying a noticeable amount. And the cost of electricity is VERY expensive in the spot market. It’s why my co-op is doing major upgrades to the hydro-electric dam. To increase the efficiency and reduce the need to buy expensive spot market power.

          And without a good way to store the excess power generated, solar and wind aren’t very good for peak loads. You can’t merely flip a switch and spool up more power than a solar panel or wind generator can produce. Clouds reduce efficiency, insufficient or too much winds shut down wind generators. And despite having more alternative generation than everyone’s hero - California, it still not enough to carry the whole load. Consumers are raising demand far faster than enough infrastructure can be built out to supply that demand. So for peak loads, natural gas generators are used because they can be turned on and off quickly as needed. This adds excess cost.

          The installation of storage batteries farms is fantastic. But it will take time and it will add cost to consumers electric bill.

          And despite some tankie’s beliefs, nothing is free - it all costs something. I’m a member of a tiny rural electric co-op. The co-op needs to make a profit to afford maintenance and upgrades to our tiny grid. Our power is generated by a hydro-electric dam and my rates have gone up this year to to cover the costs of some major maintenance on the dam and the addition of 3 new linemen to keep the electricity flowing to my heat pump that the co-op incentivizes and highly encourages.

      • @[email protected]
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        131 month ago

        So, this is definitely good from an infrastructure perspective. But because the infrastructure is all privately owned and operated in pursuit of profit, the cost problem isn’t solved by the new capital.

        Much like with all the new natural gas electric plants, these battery centers simply exist to exploit the short periods of time in which Texas electricity prices jump from $25 Mwh to $3000 Mwh. As the cartels sink their claws deeper into the retail market, the possibility of enormous price spikes increase, with base loads falling and surge pricing becoming much more common.

        • @[email protected]
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          -81 month ago

          It’s not a cartel risk. It’s a supply and demand equation. More supply means lower prices.

          It’s just market prices.

          • @[email protected]
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            91 month ago

            It’s not a cartel risk. It’s a supply and demand equation.

            Cartels love industries with inelastic demand.

            It’s just market prices.

            Markets aren’t magic. Prices are a consequence of human decisions. And if you can withhold electricity from the grid to maximize returns (by forming a cartel with other producers) you can drive those prices up when people can least afford to reduce consumption.

            • @[email protected]
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              -21 month ago

              Isn’t it tonnes of different people, farmers and such. Too many for a cartel to form. Reducing supply is just going to mean to make less money.

              Batteries are making the grid a lot more elastic.

              • @[email protected]
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                51 month ago

                Isn’t it tonnes of different people, farmers and such.

                Farmers and such are not selling power on the Texas wholesale electric grid, no.

                Reducing supply is just going to mean to make less money.

                Because fossil fuel supplies are limited, you can often make more money selling a small amount onto the market at a high price than a large amount onto the market at a low price.

                • @[email protected]
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                  -31 month ago

                  Some people ideas of capitalism are so warped.

                  If there is an energy cartel report them.

          • @[email protected]
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            61 month ago

            So weird that other states are able to avoid such ridiculous price swings and are able to mitigate most of the downtime caused by extreme weather disruptions than Texas is unable to handle.

        • DMBFFF
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          11 month ago

          The higher the percentage, the greater the incentive.

            • @[email protected]
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              01 month ago

              why? what mechanism forces them to lower prices? the same that keep corporate profits at record highs year after year? we recently saw just how silly the idea of competition making anything cheaper is when every, even tho, there was no reason for doing so, started upping the prices of groceries, because they could.

      • @[email protected]
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        81 month ago

        what kind of woke liberal socialism is this?

        don’t they know those solar power panels will use up all the sun! What will happen when we run out of sun?! /s

        • @[email protected]
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          61 month ago

          Probably the same thing that will happen to all the athletes once they run out of their finite lifetime supply of energy :(

        • @[email protected]
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          -51 month ago

          Its just free market capitalism.

          They also have more than double the wind power of any other state.

          • @[email protected]
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            11 month ago

            Thats not capitalism. Capitalism doesnt involve that evil demonrat satan technology like wind and solar! /s

            • @[email protected]
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              -11 month ago

              Just because people in Texas are wrong about what capitalism is doesn’t mean people on this website can’t also be wrong, quite often even more so.

                • @[email protected]
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                  -11 month ago

                  Only when it’s really well organised fun.

                  But this website has the lowest economic literacy I have ever seen. It’s really dangerous that people might think the majority know what they are talking about.

      • @[email protected]
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        51 month ago

        This does bring up kind of an interesting question for me at least.

        I would expect that a significant contributor to the surge prices is from HVAC units and similar needing to work harder/etc. My brain also feels like solar panels are likely to work better when it’s warmer, but I realize that I don’t have any proof of that or know how that would work beyond ‘when hot, feels like more sun rays, more sun rays good for solar?’.

        On to the question, do solar panels work better in warmer temperatures and does output of solar panels scale anywhere close to comparatively with ambient temperature and/or need for HVAC and similar systems?

        • @[email protected]
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          71 month ago

          I would expect that a significant contributor to the surge prices is from HVAC units and similar needing to work harder/etc.

          That’s one end of the equation. But the other end is in how we’re replacing coal plants with natural gas plants.

          Coal plants are significantly slower to respond to market demand (on the scale of hours to increase/decrease supply), so they need to be run at a higher output on a longer time frame as electricity demands rise. Because ERCOT auctions electricity demand in 15 minute intervals, coal plants can’t meet a short spike in demand before its come and gone. Natural gas plants don’t have this problem. They can sit on their reserve fuel until the prices peak and then flood the grid with electricity on short notice.

          As coal plant profitability sinks relative to gas plant cartels, the volume of electricity we produce becomes more and more easy to rig within the ERCOT auction markets. HVACs going into overdrive in the evening (typically between 3-7pm) signal a potential spike in demand. But gas plant operators get to wait until the electricity auction realizes those high prices, rather than producing electricity in advance and hoping you get to ride a wave through sunset.

          do solar panels work better in warmer temperatures and does output of solar panels scale anywhere close to comparatively with ambient temperature and/or need for HVAC and similar systems?

          A lot of the heat in cities like Houston comes from the humidity combined with the sun, so a bit of breeze can drastically impact the gross demand for electricity. Meanwhile, electric components of all sorts (photovoltaics included) perform worse in the heat. Breeze can also impact electricity available from wind turbines, which further shift prices.

          Batteries can help renewable energy companies hedge against peak production relative to peak consumption. But, again, a private market maker still wants to chase the highest returns. So putting a bunch of quick-to-discharge batteries on a grid alongside quick-to-ramp-up natural gas turbines means… more cartel price fixing.

      • @[email protected]
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        11 month ago

        Seems good for industry and bad for the actual populous, considering things like this can still happen lol.

  • @[email protected]
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    1031 month ago

    I live in Texas and have already received 2 notices this spring to conserve electricity. It has barely hit 90, and they aren’t able to keep up with demand. They get the same weather reports we have access to, up to 14-21 days, yet they can’t/won’t anticipate demand?

    • @[email protected]
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      771 month ago

      It’s almost like they have a financial incentive to pull this shit.

      In 2000/2001 this same shit was being done in California, leading to rolling blackouts and record-high energy prices. One company was buying all the plants and shutting them down for “maintenance” specifically to increase energy prices.

      There were going to be congressional hearings over it in early 2022, but that company was Enron, and at the end of 2001 they collapsed due to other bullshit they were pulling.

    • @[email protected]
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      1 month ago

      Fun fact, in case you weren’t aware; Texas pays bitcoin mining companies to shut off their rigs during peak demand.

      Miners love this; in effect they can just threaten to mine bitcoin and get paid as much as they would have made actually mining bitcoin, but without the wear and tear on their expensive hardware. It’s a legalized extortion racket being enacted on the public purse.

      Apologies if I just gave you even more reason to be angry.

        • @[email protected]
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          11 month ago

          Effectively, yes. But that just makes extorting the government even more effective in comparison. Better to just get paid not to mine.

  • @[email protected]
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    841 month ago

    Bookmarking this for the next time white supremacists here in good ole’ South Africa peddles the “privatisation is the only thing that will fix our electricity problems!” bullcrap.

    Thanks, Texas!

    • @[email protected]
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      401 month ago

      No no no, that’s not true privatization. True privatization would fix all the problems

      • @[email protected]
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        101 month ago

        Privatisation can only work if the end consumers have genuine choice.

        In the UK electricity is privatised and I can pick from dozens of companies. This honestly works pretty well, and you can pick the cheapest depending on when you use electricity and how much. It’s the same infrastructure no matter who you pick, but that seems handled fairly well. Same with internet providers.

        We also privatised water, and we just get given a company to rule over each area of the country. Unsurprisingly, given the consumer has no recourse other than “have no water” this is an absolute fucking shit-show. They’ve not invested in enough reservoirs, nor sewage handling, and instead lobby the government to make it legal to just put it in the rivers instead. It’s the same story with trains.

  • @[email protected]
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    Pretty sure they are happy they don’t have “communism” when they pay those bills.

        • @[email protected]
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          141 month ago

          Funny, I was thinking the same of the New Yorkers who moved to Texas. I live in New York (not the City) and yah the state has problems, but you couldn’t pay me to move to a Southern state…

          • @[email protected]
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            -41 month ago

            IDK, coming from NYC to TX is probably a net upgrade in a lot of ways, especially if you’re a small business owner or work for one. The laws in NYC are just so bonkers.

            Then again, I’m uninterested in moving to TX either. I’m pretty happy here in Utah, and I may move back home to Seattle, WA at some point, or maybe we’ll move to NC. But I’m not moving anywhere further south than NC.

            • @[email protected]
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              111 month ago

              Yah the taxes in NYS (not NYC) are one of the problems I mentioned, but on the other hand I’ve seen what they paid for. As an Upstate NY resident I have a love/hate relationship with NYC. On one hand it causes a lot of funky laws to be passed at the state level. On the other hand it brings in a FUCK TON of tax revenue that Upstate benefits from

            • @[email protected]
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              31 month ago

              Honestly Louis Rossmans experience as a small business owner living the real life Kafka novel in new Yorks legal system made me never want to live there.

    • @[email protected]
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      161 month ago

      Some, but there are a lot of people here who recognize the hypocrisy and trash policies put into place in the state by politicians who do not wish to govern, only consolidate power.

            • @[email protected]
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              11 month ago

              There are actual checks and balance to ensure you’re a citizen and you vote at most once

              • @[email protected]
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                11 month ago

                Where I live you just get a letter some weeks before the election. With that letter you can vote at the place that is named in the letter (or anywhere in the same city). If you lose the letter you can still vote with your id-card, but only at the place that was named in the letter.

                Easy, isn’t it?

              • @[email protected]
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                11 month ago

                It make sense if it were like the TSA to be honest, bring everything you need to vote or preregister for a faster experience. Would also help if was voting month(s) instead of day so people could comfortably vote.

          • @[email protected]
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            61 month ago

            That’s really dumb. Here in Utah, you sign up online, and you can get a mail ballot online too. I have never actually voted in person, I just fill out my ballot and drop it in one of the collection bins a few days before the election. We can even track our ballot to ensure it gets processed.

            Why overcomplicate it? I don’t need to take time off to vote, and I can take my time researching the candidates. Voting should be easy.

          • @[email protected]
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            201 month ago

            I wish it was possible to vote strongly enough for gerrymandering to be irrelevant.

            Another 51% win for Biden will certainly trigger another violent inssurection attempt and another 4 years of inaction.

            The best outcome would be a landslide victory if only to show the republican voters that their ideas are not supported by the general public.

              • @[email protected]
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                -31 month ago

                it would take so little for Biden to rake in the votes but the Democrats in general seem to be doing everything they can to embarrass themselves even worse than 2016 …

  • @[email protected]
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    631 month ago

    I bet those businesses who relocated from Cali to Texas are loving those power prices.

    Oh yeah, they already left Texas.

    • @[email protected]
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      -711 month ago

      Besides that one time power goes out more often in California. In Texas you just have a temporary price surge you could treat like a blackout if you wanted to. The difference is it’s less often and you have a choice.

      • @[email protected]
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        731 month ago

        I haven’t had a power outage in about ten years, between SDG&E, PG&E, and SoCal Edison. Meanwhile, Texas has regular power outages. So just what are you on about?

      • Eww
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        541 month ago

        Like the time people were freezing to death during a power outage while the governor took a vacation to Cancún?

          • @[email protected]
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            Yeah, if you want a governor abandoning his people, look to Kevin Stitt (Oklahoma) last year when Tulsa was without power for about a week. Lieutenant Governor was out too, literally no one had any idea who was in charge of the state.

      • @[email protected]
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        251 month ago

        Maybe power is more reliable in central Texas, my family still has no electricity from the derecho that hit Houston. And they lose power frequently from all the heavy storms or hurricanes that pummel the gulf coast.

  • downpunxx
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    581 month ago

    Texas under Republicans is a disaster as an ongoing concern

  • @[email protected]
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    481 month ago

    Oh, Texas. Your power grid is an endless source of amusement (for people who don’t have to rely on it, of course).

    • @[email protected]
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      331 month ago

      Losing power for three days, but knowing my energy bill will be twice as high as last months is always a cool feeling.

        • @[email protected]
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          111 month ago

          I mean, I work in the O&G industry. Y’all have every right to be as smartass as you please.

          • @[email protected]
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            31 month ago

            so what’s the reason they’re the only state independent from the national grid?
            they just know better?
            guess that’s why they call it the lone star state

            • @[email protected]
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              121 month ago

              so what’s the reason they’re the only state independent from the national grid?

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Interconnection

              There’s a whole article on it in Wikipedia, but the TL;DR; boils down to “If we’re not connected nationally then we don’t have to abide by national regulations”.

              That’s ostensibly a cost-saving, assuming you don’t think too hard about what’s being regulated. But its also a great opportunity to price gouge consumers.