Texas gets New England winter weather

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JCBone
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by JCBone » Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:55 am

BGuttman wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:46 pm
Texas is a bastion of deregulation. Here is a clear view of the downside. I hope people will remember this as they decry Government regulation.
I don't think it's fair to take an unprecedented natural disaster and then blame the outcome on neoliberalism. I didn't read tge arricle since I don't have a subscription but where people actually charged that much or is is it a misleading title?
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BGuttman
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by BGuttman » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:50 am

JCBone wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:55 am
BGuttman wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:46 pm
Texas is a bastion of deregulation. Here is a clear view of the downside. I hope people will remember this as they decry Government regulation.
I don't think it's fair to take an unprecedented natural disaster and then blame the outcome on neoliberalism. I didn't read the article since I don't have a subscription but were people actually charged that much or is is it a misleading title?
This is confirmation of the earlier post claiming a $6,000 charge to "fuel up" an electric vehicle. There are several incidences of people who got obscenely high electrical bills because the power plan doesn't put a cap on the market charges.

Note: the New York Times will allow you to read a single article, although it will contain some extra ads put in. If you have been reading a bunch of articles "for free" the Times will block you.
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robcat2075
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by robcat2075 » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:07 am

JCBone wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:55 am
I didn't read tge arricle since I don't have a subscription but where people actually charged that much or is is it a misleading title?
The article cites an actual instance of a person who got such a bill. He signed up for a variable rate electric plan, which looked attractive when rates were low. Most people don't sign up for variable rate plans so this scenario won't happen to most people.

But such plans are possible under the current law which favors open competition among electric companies, which I suspect won't last long after this debacle.
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robcat2075
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by robcat2075 » Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:58 am

JCBone wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:55 am
I didn't read tge arricle since I don't have a subscription but where people actually charged that much or is is it a misleading title?
Here are a few key passages
SAN ANTONIO — As millions of Texans shivered in dark, cold homes over the past week while a winter storm devastated the state’s power grid and froze natural gas production, those who could still summon lights with the flick of a switch felt lucky.

Now, many of them are paying a severe price for it.

“My savings is gone,” said Scott Willoughby, a 63-year-old Army veteran who lives on Social Security payments in a Dallas suburb. He said he had nearly emptied his savings account so that he would be able to pay the $16,752 electric bill charged to his credit card — 70 times what he usually pays for all of his utilities combined. “There’s nothing I can do about it, but it’s broken me.”
...The steep electric bills in Texas are in part a result of the state’s uniquely unregulated energy market, which allows customers to pick their electricity providers among about 220 retailers in an entirely market-driven system.

Under some of the plans, when demand increases, prices rise. The goal, architects of the system say, is to balance the market by encouraging consumers to reduce their usage and power suppliers to create more electricity.

But when last week’s crisis hit and power systems faltered, the state’s Public Utilities Commission ordered that the price cap be raised to its maximum limit of $9 per kilowatt-hour, easily pushing many customers’ daily electric costs above $100. And in some cases, like Mr. Willoughby’s, bills rose by more than 50 times the normal cost.

Many of the people who have reported extremely high charges, including Mr. Willoughby, are customers of Griddy, a small company in Houston that provides electricity at wholesale prices, which can quickly change based on supply and demand.

The company passes the wholesale price directly to customers, charging an additional $9.99 monthly fee. Much of the time, the rate is considered affordable. But the model can be risky: Last week, foreseeing a huge jump in wholesale prices, the company encouraged all of its customers — about 29,000 people — to switch to another provider when the storm arrived. But many were unable to do so.
I'll note that $9 per kWh is about 90x the rate i pay on my 10¢/kWh fixed rate plan, but when "Scott Willoughby" signed up for his variable rate plan it might have been quoting 6 or 7¢ per kwh, much less than the fixed rate plans
“To the Texas Utilities Commission: What are you thinking, allowing the average type of household to sign up for this kind of program?” Tyson Slocum, the director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, said of Griddy. “The risk-reward is so out of whack that it never should have been permitted in the first place.”

Phil King, a Republican state lawmaker who represents an area west of Fort Worth, said some of his constituents who were on variable-rate contracts were complaining about bills in the thousands.

“When something like this happens, you’re in real trouble” with such contracts, Mr. King said. “There have got to be some emergency financial waivers and other actions taken until we can work through this and get to the bottom of it.”

Responding to its outraged customers, Griddy, too, appeared to try to shift anger to the Public Utilities Commission in a statement.

“We intend to fight this for, and alongside, our customers for equity and accountability — to reveal why such price increases were allowed to happen as millions of Texans went without power,” the statement said.

William W. Hogan, considered the architect of the Texas energy market design, said in an interview this past week that the high prices reflected the market performing as it was designed.
On paper, free market-forces schemes like this should work to keep demand in line with supply... you can freely choose to freeze if you don't like the cost of not freezing... but in practice you don't know the price of the electricity until it's too late to choose not to buy it so the market forces don't really work.

Also, there were never enough people on those variable plans to properly influence the total demand enough to meet the crisis. Everyone would have to be in for it to work.
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robcat2075
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by robcat2075 » Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:55 pm

Here it comes...
NYT: What a Texas Plumber Faces Now: A State Full of Burst Pipes
HOUSTON — Randy Calazans is one of the hottest commodities in Texas right now. He’s a plumber.

The winter weather nightmare that swept through the state last week cut off power and heat to millions of homes that were never designed for frigid temperatures. Up and down the state, people were driven from their homes, or came back to find them badly damaged, by pipes and valves and tanks that froze and burst.

So when the snow started to defrost and the sun made a coveted return, plumbers were suddenly like roofers after a hurricane: Everybody seemed to need one, all at once.

At One Call Plumbing, the plumbing business where Mr. Calazans works, employees have been answering the phones nonstop in a small office with sprawling maps of Houston on the walls. The owner, Edgar Connery, said he had been in the business for nearly 40 years and had never seen a crush like this after other natural disasters. Some other companies had gotten so swamped that they stopped answering the phone at all.
But some houses will need major work, and may even have to be re-piped completely; those must be left for the weeks ahead.
The full magnitude of the damage left behind by the cold snap is still emerging, but the state already knows it needs more plumbers in a hurry. Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has said that the state will grant provisional licenses to out-of-state plumbers and will waive fees and certain other requirements for plumbers with lapsed licenses who want to renew them.
I'm glad I can fix my stuff myself.
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BGuttman
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by BGuttman » Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:59 pm

You knew this was the next phase. All so you can keep your Texas electrical grid "pure".

I feel for those poor residents with broken pipes.
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Bonearzt
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by Bonearzt » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:39 pm

Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:13 pm
I don’t see what the problem is. Just head over to Cancun and wait it out on the beach. What’s so difficult?

signed Ted Cruz
#CancunCruz!!
Eric Edwards
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Bonearzt
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by Bonearzt » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:40 pm

robcat2075 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:55 pm
Here it comes...
NYT: What a Texas Plumber Faces Now: A State Full of Burst Pipes
HOUSTON — Randy Calazans is one of the hottest commodities in Texas right now. He’s a plumber.

The winter weather nightmare that swept through the state last week cut off power and heat to millions of homes that were never designed for frigid temperatures. Up and down the state, people were driven from their homes, or came back to find them badly damaged, by pipes and valves and tanks that froze and burst.

So when the snow started to defrost and the sun made a coveted return, plumbers were suddenly like roofers after a hurricane: Everybody seemed to need one, all at once.

At One Call Plumbing, the plumbing business where Mr. Calazans works, employees have been answering the phones nonstop in a small office with sprawling maps of Houston on the walls. The owner, Edgar Connery, said he had been in the business for nearly 40 years and had never seen a crush like this after other natural disasters. Some other companies had gotten so swamped that they stopped answering the phone at all.
But some houses will need major work, and may even have to be re-piped completely; those must be left for the weeks ahead.
The full magnitude of the damage left behind by the cold snap is still emerging, but the state already knows it needs more plumbers in a hurry. Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has said that the state will grant provisional licenses to out-of-state plumbers and will waive fees and certain other requirements for plumbers with lapsed licenses who want to renew them.
I'm glad I can fix my stuff myself.
Agreed IF you can find materials!!!
Eric Edwards
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"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." -Sophocles
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robcat2075
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by robcat2075 » Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:35 pm

One thing I'm glad I did a couple years ago was re-pipe the hot water to the clothes washer so it isn't just a branch, it's a U that goes out to the washing machine then comes back on its way to the kitchen sink, so i can just leave the sink faucet running and that will keep the whole line unfrozen.

Unfortunately... I had not done that yet to the cold water pipe to the washing machine. My remedy was a heating pad that sat on top of the pipe. If the power had not gone out that would have been fine.

Oh well. Now I have a reason to do that cold water U.

I bet the people with the worst water damage are the ones who decamped to grandma's or the ex-spouse's house and didn't leave faucets running and weren't home to turn water off when it all started to thaw.
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robcat2075
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by robcat2075 » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:25 pm

Many articles noting that, insurance claim-wise, this will be the biggest disaster in Texas history.
Bigger than any hurricane.

I'm one step ahead of all of them... I have no insurance!
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robcat2075
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by robcat2075 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:03 pm

My past month of kWh usage.

The vertical bars are the kWh used in a day, the red dots claim to be average daily temperature but they look more like the highs.

The tallest bar amounts to about $20 of electricity. The next two might have been a little higher (if there had been any electricity) but the heater was already going full tilt. I had run out of ways to use more electricity.
kWh.jpg
kWh.jpg (62.47 KiB) Viewed 94 times
>>Robert Holmén<<

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robcat2075
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Re: Texas gets New England winter weather

Post by robcat2075 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:20 am

My electric provider felt a need to send this out...
.
Gexa.jpg
Gexa.jpg (75.38 KiB) Viewed 42 times
.

However, I do notice that their current offerings are a bit more expensive than when I signed up last summer. Hopefully that will subside by the time I have choose again at the end of the year.
>>Robert Holmén<<

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