Texas Faces Power Shortages Possibly 10 Years Out

A new study suggests Texas may have to deal with with power shortages for the next 10 years or so (source:  The Statesman) . These power shortages would happen during peak demand periods each year. So for instance, on a very hot summer or very cold winter you can expect that would be the time when everybody’s power goes out.

This worse case scenario occurs because too many people are demanding electricity at the same time. Combine this increase in demand from an expanding population and economy in Texas with EPA actions preventing coal fired power plants from being built. It isn’t that Texas wants to pollute the environment, kill the elderly and poison small children.

The fact of the matter is that new coal technology allows for clean burning cheap coal to meet demand for electricity and still let everyone have affordable electricity.

It will always sound great to protect the elderly and the children and like you I want to do this as well but when the elderly and children are used in propaganda by green activists to the eventual hardship of every Texas power consumer someone needs to say something.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has hired an outside consultant that will be delivering a report on June 1 on how Texas can encourage the construction of new power plants.

Right now wholesale electricity prices are too low to attract investors in new electricity generation plants and you have the EPA to contend with if you mention the word, coal.

Remember at one time TXU was planning to create at least 11 new state of the art coal fired power plants and now look at the situation?

For now Texas must work to get more commercial and industrial customers to agree to interrupt their electricity usage during peak demand times in exchange for payment.

A noteworthy aspect to getting businesses to automate electricity curtailment is that in the process they sometimes create complete backup generation systems that can produce onsite electricity through natural gas and remain completely off the grid long term.

Hopefully we will see more off the grid electricity systems that are built for these individual facilities alleviating Texas electricity demand troubles.

You can learn more about commercial distributed generation systems and implementation in Texas by watching the video below.

TXU Parent Gets Burned Again!

Energy Future Holdings is the Dallas based company that controls TXU and if you remember was the entity purchased in the largest leveraged private equity buyout in U.S. history. The Energy Future Holdings private equity buyout now ranks as the number 2 biggest ever as RJR Nabisco beat them out. The deal was a cool $44.37 billion to buy up Energy Future Holdings by buyers KKR, TPG, and Goldman Sachs.

The former secretary of the state was appointed to run this big massive company and now facing a 5th consecutive quarterly loss I start to wonder about the too big to fail concept. Is this loan guaranteed by the government in one way or another. How does this get handled if government has to step in?

I kind of doubt these companies would get into this buyout if there weren’t some pretty strong guarantees in place for this leveraged loan.
Being burdened by all this debt Fitch Ratings downgraded Energy Future Holdings’ debt to 8 levels below junk and said a default is very likely a possibility.

The company faces increasing troubles in trying to generate cash and their debt is only going up along with their interest payments. Sales fell 27% to $1.22 billion in the first quarter and interest expenses increased 22% to $785 million from a year earlier.

I wonder who has a protective stake in this buyout and what investors will end up being screwed? The report seemed to blame falling power prices on EFH’s downfall so far. I wonder if the problem has anything to do with the EPA and environmental activists that stopped all those state of the art coal power plants that were expected to be built by TXU?

Power generation is a big part of the EFH business. Their retail side, TXU, sells retail electricity service but this is a carefully balanced business that has other worries unrelated to the generation side of the business.

Trying to keep this big company going with all the government regulation and competitive deregulated market in Texas seems like a huge undertaking and add to that the pressure of all that debt.

I see this as a long uphill climb into positive territory.

Nations Power Prepaid Texas Electric Company Review

I discovered a new prepaid electric company opened up in Texas today called Nations Power. This company offers a fixed kilowatt hour rate as well as a variable pay what you can plan.

Regardless if you go with a traditional electric company that gives you 30 – 45 days to pay your bill or you go with a prepaid provider where you pay in advance I would choose the fixed rate every time.

Many electric companies will not hesitate to raise your variable rate on you beyond what you were expecting.

It is true not all variable rate plans are bad but to be on the safe side a fixed electric rate with Nations Power is probably the way to go.

The reason you would want to order electric service through a prepaid electric company like Nations Power is if you know you will not be able to afford deposits by other providers.

The Texas government does offer assistance to low-income families for deposits and rate subsidies but for most of us the hassle in qualifying for these assistance programs is simply not worth it.

If your credit is okay or bad you will likely have to pay a deposit with most all the Texas electric companies.

For instance, if you call TXU and Reliant they will likely both ask for a deposit ranging from $200 – $500 depending on how bad your credit is.

Of course if you have good credit no deposit is needed. Now lets say you have called these two large electric companies, TXU and Reliant, if you go on to call Bounce, Green Mountain, and Texas Power they will likely ask for a deposit as well.

Why would all these providers ask for a deposit? They all work from a credit checking service to manage their risk. There is about a 50% customer default rate below a certain credit score number and what score this is remains a tightly held secret.

There is simply no way of working with a provider that bills you 30 days out for service in negotiating a deposit and that is why a company like Nations Power can come in handy.

By going with a prepaid electric company you avoid the deposit but will sacrifice on price. Most prepaid electric companies have higher prices than traditional electric companies that check your credit.

Nations Power is based out of Allen Texas and has recently launched their company as a Texas prepaid electric provider. You may reach them at (866) 356-6850.

If you have used this prepay electric company please give our community feedback in a review format in the comment section below.

Interesting to note, the company with the same PUCT license number is Catalyst Energy Inc. which is a PA oil and gas exploration company. The activities of Catalyst encompass the exploration, development, production, transmission and processing of oil, natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons. Since Texas relies on natural gas for the production of much of the electricity it is worth noting that Catalyst now has a stake in both the production and retail aspect of natural gas. There is often an inverse relation to the cost of producing electricity using natural gas and the actual cost of natural gas. If these two factors of natural gas price and “heat rate” are managed well there can be a big payoff in being in the production and retail side of natural gas. Most important is to not gamble to much in the process of doing both.

Another Free Market Failure Accusation About Texas Electricity Deregulation

Clean Coal Power Mike Norman with the Fort Worth Star Telegram hits on the topic of if Texas deregulation is really working. I assume he places blame on deregulation as the reason for the Texas power supply failure because the title of his article states, “The Texas free market for electricity just isn’t cutting it“. Maybe he is just meaning that as good as deregulation is it can’t stop the EPA and other non-governmental organizations from halting all oil based energy production thereby raising consumer costs. Deregulation being a failure is a popular argument because any time prices go up or supply capacity is reached we hear about it from the political side that benefits the most from this view.

Is deregulation to blame for every time something bad happens in the deregulated Texas electricity market? No you can’t always blame it on deregulation but it is a piece of the puzzle so yes it is to blame sometimes. The main problem with deregulation isn’t inefficiencies building electric grid infrastructure and power production as this gets approved by the state and then shutdown by the EPA and federal government, not deregulation. Texas has broken up the generation companies and such away to allow new investors to come in and build power facilities but not many have filled this hole left open for increased competition. I think new investors have not come in because you are talking about investing in and building highly federally regulated things like coal, natural gas, and nuclear power facilities.  What new investors want to do what TXU just got shutdown by the EPA for trying to do? I see problems with how some retail providers try and use tricks to market their electric rates but regarding power supply being built out the bottleneck seems to be in government regulation still being in the mix too much.

Even if the market was regulated again under one monopoly per electric utility area you would just as easily be able to blame brownouts and blackouts on the monopoly regulated electric utilities just like deregulation gets blamed for things now. I don’t think Mike is trying to place all the blame on deregulation but he is pointing out that you will see an electric bill increase regardless of the provider you choose because of some recent failures in the Texas deregulated market. You see you very likely will find more non-negotiable ERCOT related fees on your electric bill eventually because of lack of electric supply available to meet demand but who is really to blame for this?

Mike explains that a free market should work in theory because investors are encouraged to place their money where the highest return will be received and in so doing offer just enough electricity to cover the demand as well as spikes in demand. In a perfect system the investor is rewarded a maximum profit for producing just the right amount of power with very little waste left over.

The problem Mike sees with the current deregulated market in Texas is that power plants break down or have to be shutdown to fix or maintain it resulting in loss of supply. If Murphy’s Law is in effect and a power demand spike occurs around the same time as a maintenance shutdown all of a sudden there is not enough power to go around for everyone.

These imperfections are problems that political powers bring up in order to fault the great electricity deregulation experiment of 2002. Will this blame game reverse deregulation in Texas? I really doubt that deregulation can be reversed anytime soon. There is huge public support for energy choice in Texas. Many people can show you on their electric bills how they have saved money because of deregulation simply from using our Electricity Bid website.

Is Deregulation to Blame for Lack of Sufficient Power Supply in Texas?

The problem we are faced with in regards to electric power supply in Texas for 2012 is unreliable power supply due to not enough power plants in operation. Is deregulation responsible for this lack of power?

No! In fact TXU was approved for and planning to build 11 new coal fired power plants that utilized clean burning technology and significantly reduced pollution from these plants compared to the old mothballed coal plants from the past. The prior mayor of Houston and Democratic nominee for governor of Texas, Bill White complained in 2010 that these plants were unnecessary but now they seem all too necessary. ERCOT predicts very tight power supplies this summer and this has politicians frantic but I’m sitting here wondering why we didn’t just get started on those 11 coal plants in 2010?

I think what Pat said has a lot to do with our problems…..Pat Ennis with Priority Power Management said, “”I’m not the smartest guy around, but I’d be willing to bet that… we’re not going to have any coal plants built here in Texas for a long time — between the EPA and the environmentalists, coal is kind of a no-no.”

The state of Texas has been contending with attacks from the Environmental Defense Fun and the EPA in regards to an argument that is mainly about the states CO2 emission levels. Instead of focusing their argument primarily on pollution like mercury levels and other scientifically verifiable pollutants they were able to stop 11 new coal fired power plants from being built by TXU because of a global warming argument.

Many scientists and climate scientists non-affiliated or backed by the United Nations IPCC organization disagree that global warming has a negative environmental impact or that man has anything to do with it. Over the last decade their has been a decline in average global temperatures and so to even argue CO2 levels to prevent Texas from expanding their power capacity only serves to hurt these environmental activists causes.

What Can Texans Do to Increase Power Supply?

Does anyone remember back a few years ago when TXU proposed building multiple state of the art clean burning coal power plants? These power plants would have significantly updated the power infrastructure in Texas but the plan was shutdown because of environmental nut jobs. Even though the power plants would have been state of the art cheap coal power with significant reductions in pollution compared to current coal power plants in operation the plan did not go through. The state of Texas must fight the EPA and federal government politically where it hurts and take back our state and its ability to provide power to our citizens.

Even with an unsatisfactory amount of power generation plants built in Texas we have seen a steady increase in large commercial and industrial facilities building on-site power grid infrastructure that are little mini power generators for their companies. These miniature power generators also known as distributed generation systems account for a large portion of the overall electricity consumption in Texas. During peak demand periods in the day these generators can turn on resulting in no need for the state to start rolling blackouts in residential neighborhoods.

The Texas demand curtailment program has been a huge success. Companies are paid to enroll in a program that they do not even have to participate in when and if they are asked to turn off their power for maybe only 20 – 30 minutes in the span of 1 month. The program is enrolled to it’s limits each time Texas opens it back up. What does this mean? There are likely more than enough large commercial and industrial facilities that would jump at the chance to shutdown production for a short interval in exchange for being paid by the state of Texas to do so. Consider that many large companies like this shutdown once a month anyway to test their back up generators so why not get paid to do this?

Solar generation at this time is not a good option for solving the states problems but has limited uses.  As we have seen, large federally backed companies like Solyndra have not even been able to stay a float because of the expense it costs to produce cheap affordable power using solar. Hey I am a fan of solar but like most people I can’t afford to build a solar off the grid system on my home or business. If I can’t afford the system like most of us why would you think the federal government can? We are at record breaking tax deficits in the beginning stages of an economic collapse and those tax dollars are to be used for things that are considered affordable and have at least a 10 year return on investment. Wind power is a partial option but is only viable to use in combination with natural gas power generation as it can share in the control systems and connections to the grid.

The smart meters, and energy efficiency programs utilities across the state offer continue to assist in teaching home owners how to make their homes more efficient and lower their monthly energy bill. These programs should continue to be encouraged and promoted through local electric utilities that control the power infrastructure.

Momentis is a new Electric Service MLM Work From Home Energy Company

Momentis I just found another MLM energy company today called Momentis. I clicked on the link and the person who signed up for this opportunity must have already quit because the link was invalid.

This company is powered by an electric company that has been around for awhile now called, Just Energy.

I have talked to commercial businesses about Just Energy in the past and from my knowledge they have been very aggressive. They had feet on the street sales guys canvasing business districts offering their rates.

This practice is typical of even TXU and Reliant Energy so there is nothing wrong with this I just say this to explain Just Energy has and will try anything to be competitive hence why they are in MLM.

Momentis is an MLM company powered by Just Energy and they don’t just sell electric service but also natural gas, TV, internet, and phone.

If you are wondering about this opportunity and how it compares to the rest I have news for you. As far as I am concerned I already kind of know what the compensation plan will look like before even looking.

It has become increasingly predictable what these companies compensation plans look like. The main thing I would worry about is if the company will allow you to keep whatever ranking you achieve when they eventually change their compensation plan or add more positions.

Think about this, most of these MLM energy companies adjust their plans by adding a new rank in the mix. This dilutes your stake in the money pool and continuously makes it harder for you to remain at the top.

Some MLM companies will vet you and keep you in whatever position you achieve and will not allow a new rank to push you down but will in fact promote you to that new level that did not exist when you first joined.

What companies look out for you in this way? Not many.

Regarding the compensation plan it appears it looks similar to many, such as Ignite Energy, The Green Mountain Energy MLM, and a few others. You basically get very little compensation for actually signing up electric service customers directly.

You get bonuses for signing up customers within 30 day time slots. For each 5 additional customers you get in 30 days it appears they pay you $100. That means you are getting $20 a customer one time. You also get $1 a month for each active customer you personally maintain that you have signed up directly.

Overall the compensation you get for the direct work you put into getting active customers is very little compared to other MLM companies I know about.

The real money comes in by building large active down-lines of representatives that are selling the opportunity. The reason this is where the good money comes in is because large bonuses are paid out when new recruits join.

The site does not go into how much the Myteam bonuses are or how much the myLeadership bonuses are which is curious to me but I suspect they are fairly big in the $100 – $300 range.

Keep in mind to get these bonuses your recruit has to pay a large upfront membership fee and sign up 2 customers in 30 days. Once this happens you get the initial $100 mentor bonus. The additional bonuses are paid out as your recruits qualify for more levels and are trained.

This compensation plan is very similar to many others. The hard part is in building a down-line that is very active. This is very hard to do but can be done. I produced a video that explains what the long term goal should be with anyone considering joining an MLM company. For most of us including myself it is far beyond something I would want to get involved in.

 

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