Zenith Blog


“​Nothing New Under The Sun”​

By Chris Yee | Uncategorized | Mar 4

A February ice storm brought historically cold weather to Texas. Power plants went offline as demand spiked and millions of Texans lost power due to rolling blackouts or what electrical grid operators call “shedding load”. Simply put, power was cut to millions of Texans to keep electrical supply and demand balanced while temperatures were well below freezing. 

Does that sound familiar? It happened in 2011. Like Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun.

After that storm, investigations were launched, fingers were pointed, and changes to the state’s electrical infrastructure were adopted. Fast forward almost ten years to November 2020 when the state agency which oversees Texas’ electrical grid anticipated “there will be sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve system-wide forecasted peak demand this winter season, December 2020 – February 2021.”

Then last week happened. Per https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/16/us/winter-storm-texas-power-outage-map.html, over 35% of Texans — 4.1 million customers — were without power early afternoon Tuesday the 16th.

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According to https://www.electricchoice.com/map-deregulated-energy-markets/, seventeen states have some sort of electrical deregulation and no state is more deregulated than Texas. In other words, consumers in 33 states have no choice who they buy electricity from. No other state has 85% of its citizens who are free to choose their retail electricity provider. Except Texas.

Is there a connection between electrical deregulation and what happened last week in Texas? I don’t know. If the answer is “yes”, that brings another question to mind: is a free-market (a deregulated) approach to an essential commodity like electricity the best thing for Texas?

What do you think?

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