Again Texas politicians, specifically the attorney general, has proven that they have no intention of acting in the best interests of the public, based on the article “Attorney General rules ERCOT not subject to public info rules,” from the June 27 Monitor.
Putting aside all the top-down apparent incompetence, the major reason for the failure of the grid in February and the near failure last month was profit and the failure of the legislature/Public Utility Commission/ERCOT to keep that profit within bounds. Simple logic tells anyone that you don’t take a lot of units out for scheduled maintenance at the same time. Nor do you schedule maintenance during times you are likely to need maximum generating capacity. You wouldn’t take your car in for an engine teardown in the last month of your wife’s pregnancy, especially if you have no neighbors from whom to borrow transportation, would you?
Even before Texas was warned that its preventative measures were not sufficient in 2011 the PUC had held, and continues to hold, rates low to help its appointing politicians get elected. The companies generating the power, in their quest for increased profits, chose to defer maintenance, their second highest expense. This in turn apparently increased failures and added to downtimes for the resultant repairs and maintenance when they were allowed to happen. The results are accurately covered in the last half of The Monitor’s article, a totally unbelievable number of failures and units down for maintenance in a short period.
ERCOT did not do its job by monitoring manufacturer-dictated maintenance against that actually performed by the generating companies, nor did it effectively control the number of units allowed to be taken out of service for extended periods.
Yes, I have solutions. Make ERCOT a part of the PUC and the dictating of the daily generating capacity. Fire all of the PUC commissioners and make them elected positions representing an equal number of citizens per commissioner. Establish one electrical rate for the state with no quantity discounts. Remove all the middle men such as TXU, CPL, etc. It’s this or the state assumes ownership as a matter of public safety.
Republicans say they hate big government, yet in Texas they are one of the prime reasons for needing it, and yet unregulated profits for the generating companies and substandard service for the public, their captive customers, seem to be their goals.
Ned Sheats, Mission