Mathew Tomlinson is sick of looking at his electric bill and being overcharged beyond the normal rate he has been paying his electric provider.
He is not alone as several other people in his business location have called angrily to their Piney Point Village electric company to express outrage at the higher electric rates.
Many residents have thought about drafting a petition regarding the higher electric rates and mailing it to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to try
and do something about the higher energy costs. ERCOT has had plenty of corruption in their ranks in the past and many have wondered if the tariffs and TDSP
charges have been done with the Texas consumer in mind. Kickbacks and a network of commercial bribes have caused operations at ERCOT to look a bit like
something you might see in Russia although the corruption element at ERCOT is all supposedly cleaned up now. Many were surprised the Texas ERCOT organization
created to oversee the electric grid in Texas would come up on corruption charges. Could there possibly be something to the claim that some of ERCOTâ€™s rules
and regulations were created from past corruption and commercial bribery. If there is any hint of truth to this then all those Texas consumers fed up with higher rates may eventually feel vindicated when they get to say, “I told you so.”
ERCOT insists they are doing as much as they can to keep electric customers costs low. The nodal system that ERCOT is implementing across the state should
alleviate some cities from paying higher congestion and line loss related charges that the bigger cities in the region cause. This will help lower costs in some areas and give an incentive for larger cities to work on improving their efficiency in the electrical within buildings, with new pole and wires infrastructure, and lowering overall KW electricity demand from business to business.
Line items on an electric bill have caused confusion underneath the TDSP charges section. Many times for commercial customers the TDSP charges can make up 50% or more of a companies electric bill. This has caused many commercial companies to have to close shop as the electricity to run the business is too expensive to continue to stay in business.
Residential TDSP charges only make up a small percentage of the electric bill. Residential electric customers spend about 2 – 3 cents kWh in TDSP charges
while the remainder of the electric rate is from the Retail electric provider. The 2 – 3 cents in TDSP charges are past through from the pole and wires
utility company with no additional markup. There is currently no law in place in Texas that does not allow marking up the TDSP charges so some electric
providers have lowered their “energy only” rate only to then raise their “TDSP charges” higher then the normal pass through with no markup. This trick has
caused many people to second guess their electric bill when changing to the supposedly cheapest electric provider in Texas.
Natural Gas has been going up steadily which makes up most of the fuel that powers the electricity generation plants in Texas. Because natural gas is tied so
closely to Texas electric rates you see a very close correlation. Natural Gas hit a 3 year high not to long ago and electric rates in Texas also hit a 3 year
high at the same time. Having more alternative power generation plants can even out the erratic Texas electric prices and give Texas consumers a cheaper electric.
Building clean coal powered electric generation facilities as well as nuclear will help stabilize the electric prices in Texas. The United States is the
Mideast of coal if you were to compare us to the amount oil the Mideast controls. Texas should start building more coal power plants that can burn the coal
and a clean way. Clean coal power is a possibility and would drastically lower the states electricity rate.
Electric rates right now are so high because of the energy commodities market but that is not to say that there could still be some funny business going on
with some the PUCT’s (Public Utility Commission) and ERCOT’s tariffs and regulations. ERCOT did have a recent history of corruption and not everything is known about what all went on. The PUCT has no corruption related charges against them and in fact enforce strict rules and penalties against electric companies that do not obey by the rules.
Jim from Texas City said, “I have an electric bill where I pay about 16 cents kWh just in TDSP charges for my business. This became so high I could no longer
afford to stay in business. I eventually had to close my bed and breakfast and work for somebody else.”
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for about 75 percent of the state
Most commercial business owners in Texas paying the amount in TDSP charges as Jim was paying would be willing to sign a petition and send it to ERCOT. The issue is that small business owners sometimes get hit with a TDSP charge that just doesn’t justify keeping the doors to their business open any more. “The electric rate for a business in this situation is just to high” says, Jim.
â€œTexas commercial businesses I talked to said they would sign a petition even though they imagined it probably would do absolutely no good.â€ he said.
Jim, wasn’t confident that having a petition signed by several business owners in Texas would do any good but he wanted to go on record that he was not happy with electric rates for businesses in Texas.
Most people don’t say anything to the government, ERCOT or the PUCT about how they feel but I think somebody should say something to show people are beginning to take noticeâ€, he said.
ERCOT maintains they are operating at the highest ethical and professional conduct and have done everything in their power to remove corruption in their ranks. The PUCT’s tariffs and regulations related to TDSP charges have been fashioned based upon the fairest business model they could agree upon that considers several different tiers of energy usage. Some companies demand more energy at one particular time in the day but do not use that many kilowatt hours throughout the day. These companies get hit with a TDSP charge that is made up of about 90% in demand charges. Companies that find themselves in this situation should hire an electrician to come in and audit the electrical in the building for ways to become more efficient and to lower their peak electric demand KW.