Texans paying more as state increases power reserves

Changes to the state’s power grid have Texans paying higher utility bills.

The operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, was ordered to change after last year’s deadly winter storm caused widespread power outages across the state.

The Public Utility Commission said the grid is more reliable today but at a cost.

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ERCOT has reserve generating capacity available and someone must pay for that standby power. Of course, consumers are the ones who get the bill.

The estimate so far this year is $685 million or about $25 for each customer in areas covered by ERCOT.

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"We need a better process for ensuring the public has useful information and an effective channel to weigh in before these increases are put into motion," said Tim Morstad with AARP Texas.

The higher cost of fuel is also a factor this year. Wholesale electric prices were 65% higher last year and have risen even more so far this year.