Get ready for rate hikes (if they can stay on line?)
The PUC is considering raising the cap for peak power generation to $4,500 per megawatt hour. While wholesale electricity costs far less than that under normal conditions, the idea is that raising the cap would provide an incentive for generating companies to invest in new plants.
In Texas’ deregulated power system, retailers buy power from generators, then sell it to residences and businesses. So a rise in the peak wholesale price eventually would increase the average wholesale price, and end users would see higher bills.
While older plants can still be profitable when the wholesale price nears the cap, having a mothballed plant ready for use when needed requires continuing maintenance while it is out of service. For example, at the Bertron plant, operators will empty all the water from Unit 3′s steam boilers at the end of the summer and replace it with anti-corrosion chemicals to impede rust.