It was a narrow escape for Texas residents on Monday January 6th, as the state almost faced a blackout following the failure of several power plants. The power plants crumbled as a result of the spike in demand on the electric grid due to the cold weather facing almost half of the country.


Two of the state’s largest power plants were among those that failed.  The failure of the plants resulted in a deficit of approximately 3,700 megawatts of electricity.


The power grid is managed by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), who launched level 2 of their Energy Emergency Alert as a result of the power plants’ failure.  Demand for electricity stood at 55,486 megawatts early Monday morning. Power companies had to purchase electricity from Mexico and the eastern power grid to fulfill the demand during the period of the emergency alert.


Time Running Out For Lite-up Texas Program

by admin on July 29, 2013

Electricity bill assistance is available for low income Texans including those in Houston.  But time is running out.  In their 2013 legislative session lawmakers voted to phase out the program in 2016.  But over the next several years benefits will be substantially increased to make use of a large surplus in the account that funds the program known as Lite-Up Texas.

The System Benefit Fund has built up a surplus of $800 million dollars over the years.  Texas residential and business customers have paid in to the fund through a fee added to the electricity bills of most Texans.  The state, however, has been reluctant to use the funds.

In 2013 low income Texans have until August 10th to apply for assistance through the program.  Those who qualify can receive a discount on their bills of up to 82 percent.  This is a big increase from prior years.  The discount will be available for the May through September period in 2014 as well.

To qualify Texan’s have to have a salary at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level.  Anyone who receives food stamps of Medicaid are automatically enrolled in the program.  For more information visit the Lite-up Texas website.


Houston Makes Large Renewable Power Purchase

June 26, 2013

The City of Houston completed a large purchase of renewable power from Reliant Energy, a Houston electric provider.   The 140 megawatts of power in the deal is enough to make Houston the largest municipal buyer of renewable energy in the country. Up to half of the city’s annual municipal electricity demand can be satisfied by [...]

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ERCOT Ups Estimate For Texas Electricity Capacity

September 21, 2012

Texas will have more electricity in 2013 and 2014 than previously thought.  The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has increased their estimate of the available electricity supply in the state.  They have increased their estimate of reserve margin to 17.6 percent in 2013.  The new numbers account for new electricity projects such as the [...]

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Power To Choose Tested as Houston Temperatures Soar

August 9, 2012

Demand for electricity inTexasreached 65,970 megawatts on the last day of July. This breaks the previous July hourly record of 65,432 megawatts  set last year.  Temperatures inHoustonhave remained stubbornly over 100 degrees and will likely remain in that range for the next several weeks. Texans have had the power to choose for over a decade [...]

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Why are TXU Rates so high?

June 22, 2012

If you are looking for the cheapest electricity rates in Houston, chances are you won’t find them with TXU.  This piece takes a look at why TXU rates are among the highest in the state of Texas. It may have something to do with the massive debt overhang of the parent company which has gone [...]

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City of Houston Signs New Electricity Supply Agreement with Reliant

April 9, 2012

City of Houston Signs New Electricity Supply Agreement with Reliant –Deal saves city approximately $90 million over three years, plus offers option for renewable energy purchases– HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The city of Houston has signed a new electricity supply agreement for Reliant, an NRG company, to power city hall and its other facilities for three years. In [...]

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Houston Electricity Shortages Expected in The Summer

April 7, 2012

Texas electricity grid operators are warning that over the next year the combined capacity of the Texas grid may fall as much as 2,600 MW short of what it needs in order to support demand on the system. The shortfall can be attributed in part to the loss of several power plants that might be [...]

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Council to Fight Houston Area Electricity Rate Increase

March 28, 2012

Electricity rates in Houston might be going up for some people but not without a fight from the city council.   The city council is expected to try to block a proposed electricity rate hike by Houston electric provider Entergy.   Read more on the story here.

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More Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Houston

March 8, 2012

Electric Vehicle infrastructure continues to be built out in Houston.  According to Laura Spanjian who holds the title of Sustainability Director for Houston the city is encouraging increased adoption of electric vehicles by working with private partners to get charging stations built in the city. Cheap electricity in Houston will continue to encourage the switch [...]

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