Utility Dive: US poised to become leader in gas exports, but some fear price impacts

Aug. 11 — Natural gas producers are only just beginning to access an entirely new market, a potential boon to their bottom lines. But if those energy supplies are sent into higher-priced global markets, will there be an impact on consumers in the United States?

— Utility Dive


Houston Chronicle: How long can the U.S. keep hackers at bay and the lights on?

Aug. 13 — After it came to light this summer that hackers had infiltrated the computer networks of two U.S. power companies – at a time the country was still reeling from Russian cyberattacks aimed at influencing the 2016 election – the possibility of hackers taking down the U.S. power grid and sending the nation into chaos suddenly seemed a very real possibility.

— Houston Chronicle


Bloomberg: NRG Sale Draws Possible Suitors Including GIP, NextEra

Aug. 10 — Utility giant NextEra Energy Inc. and investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners are among at least seven companies looking into buying renewable energy assets from NRG Energy Inc., the U.S. power generator under pressure from billionaire investor Paul Singer to streamline.

— Bloomberg


RTO Insider: ERCOT, Regulators Discuss Need for Pricing Rule Changes

Aug. 14 — Industry experts and ERCOT stakeholders and staff jammed the Texas Public Utility Commission’s hearing room Friday for the first of several discussions on scarcity pricing and other price-formation issues in the grid operator’s energy-only market.

— RTO Insider


Houston Chronicle: Solar project beating early projections, while wind struggles

Aug. 14 — Looking at electricity production from solar projects across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North and South America since 2010, Fitch analysts found they met or exceeded their early estimates 70 percent of the time.

— Houston Chronicle


KUT: Science On Oil And Gas Link To Texas Quakes ‘Uncertain,’ New State Seismologist Says

Aug. 11 — The science on whether there’s a link between oil and gas activity and a surge in earthquakes in Texas isn’t clear-cut, says the new seismologist for the agency that regulates the industry here.

— KUT.org


Dallas Morning News: Texas’ electricity marketplace riddled with deceivers, manipulators and violators

Aug. 11 — How much trouble can one Texas electric company get into?

— Dallas Morning News


Associated Press: Texas officials looks at power grid’s reliability

Aug. 10 — Some electricity companies in Texas are planning to put less money into maintaining and modernizing plants, causing some officials to worry about energy reliability in the state.

— Associated Press


Longview News-Journal: Dean wants review of power line rules after fatal accident

Aug. 14 — State Rep. Jay Dean says he’s talking with other area lawmakers about legislation in response to the recent electrocution deaths of three Boy Scouts at Lake O’ the Pines.

— Longview News Journal


Platts: Lower wind, higher load pushes up gas share in ERCOT

Aug. 10 — Weaker wind output and heavier load resulted in natural-gas fired generation taking up more than half of the fuel mix in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in July, an almost two-year high, with more nuclear outages in the footprint, the most recent ERCOT data showed.

— Platts


Fort Worth Star-Telegram: What’s shaking? New state seismologist will tell us

Aug. 10 — Velasco was hired this week by the Texas Railroad Commission to be its seismologist to help the agency study where and when there is seismic activity as it relates to oil and gas drilling. The railroad commission regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram


The Lewisville Texan Journal: Council passes small cell ordinance

Aug. 12 — Reacting to a new state law passed this summer, the Lewisville City Council passed ordinances to set fees and conditions for the placement of “small cell” equipment within public rights of way in Lewisville.

— The Lewisville Texan Journal


Utility Dive: Utilities donate more to Republican candidates than to Democrats

Aug. 10 — Liberal watchdog groups Energy and Policy Institute and Center for Media and Democracy have put together a spreadsheet of utility-backed donations to assist governors and attorneys general in the next election cycle, finding contributions to Republicans far outpaced Democrats.

— Utility Dive


Bloomberg: Coal Plants Might Be Even More Toxic Than We Thought

Aug. 8 — An environmental disaster in North Carolina reveals that a rare, potentially dangerous compound is abundant in burned coal.

— Bloomberg


Utility Dive: US poised to become leader in gas exports, but some fear price impacts

Aug. 11 — Natural gas producers are only just beginning to access an entirely new market, a potential boon to their bottom lines. But if those energy supplies are sent into higher-priced global markets, will there be an impact on consumers in the United States?

— Utility Dive


Houston Chronicle: How long can the U.S. keep hackers at bay and the lights on?

Aug. 13 — After it came to light this summer that hackers had infiltrated the computer networks of two U.S. power companies – at a time the country was still reeling from Russian cyberattacks aimed at influencing the 2016 election – the possibility of hackers taking down the U.S. power grid and sending the nation into chaos suddenly seemed a very real possibility.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Chronicle: 15 years after deregulation, should Texas revamp its power markets?

Aug. 8 – After more than a year of debate, the issue fizzled in the face of strong objections from industrial power users, who said such a market would unnecessarily raise rates. They claimed that future demands on Texas’ electric grid were exaggerated and ERCOT has been able to find plenty of power.

— Houston Chronicle


El Paso Times: UTEP professor named staff seismologist for state Railroad Commission

Aug. 8 — Aaron Velasco is a professor of geological sciences and UTEP’s current director of interdisciplinary initiatives. He will continue to perform those roles while serving with the Railroad Commission. Velasco replaces outgoing seismologist Craig Pearson, who served as the commission’s first-ever seismologist.

— El Paso Times


Bloomberg: Warren Buffett Likes Solar, but Not the Price Tag

Aug. 8 — Berkshire Hathaway Energy says it’s not so simple. The company, which owns several utilities using conventional and renewable power sources, is the second-largest owner of clean-energy assets in the U.S. But along with other utilities, it argues that the law is outdated, often raises costs for its customers, and forces utilities to buy more electricity than needed.

— Bloomberg


Utility Dive: DOE funds transmission research to reduce grid risks

Aug. 8 — DOE will award Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University more than $350,000 to develop a probability-based model for cost-effective renewables integration.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: NRG CEO predicts ERCOT margins to shrink further

Aug. 7 — NRG Energy says that while plant cancellations and project delays threaten to push the grid’s reserve margin lower, the fundamentals for generators in Texas power markets look strong.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Oncor drops proposed minimum charge for DER customers

Aug. 7 — Oncor Electric has agreed to drop a proposed minimum charge on customers with distributed energy resources greater than 2 kW in an effort to advance its $317 million rate increase.

— Utility Dive


Politico: Why are these billions in pipeline projects stalled?

Aug. 5 — President Donald Trump’s slowness to nominate members to an energy commission helped cause a bureaucratic logjam that held up $13 billion in pipeline and gas-export projects.

— Politico


EnergyWire: Is the era of the utility megaproject over?

Aug. 3 — While the risk of megaprojects in deregulated states falls on the developers and their investors, much of the risk in rate-regulated states rests with utility customers. That’s true, at least, in states that allow recovery of financing and other costs of power projects during construction.

— EnergyWire


Platts: Luminant’s Comanche Peak-2 reactor in Texas due to return ‘late next week’

Aug. 4 — The 1,124-MW Comanche Peak-2 nuclear reactor is due to come back online late next week after shutting down June 5 due to problems with a steam turbine, Vistra Energy said Friday.

— Platts


Austin American-Statesman: Bastrop oil spill stirs Austin’s angst over Longhorn pipeline

Aug. 5 — Six months before a maintenance crew caused an 87,000-gallon crude oil spill in Bastrop County on July 13, the pipeline’s owner and operator agreed to pay $18 million in penalties and remediation efforts related to three spills that fouled waterways in three states, including a 20,000-gallon spill in Texas City.

— Austin American-Statesman


RTO Insider: Berkshire Hathaway Energy Earnings Up on Solar Rebound

Aug. 6 — Berkshire Hathaway Energy reported a $38 million increase in earnings for the second quarter over a year earlier, largely because of improved performance of BHE Renewables.

— RTO Insider


RTO Insider: PUCT Workshop to Address ERCOT Market Improvements

Aug. 6 — Market participants have complained about ERCOT’s use of reliability unit commitments, reliability-must-run contracts and other out-of-market actions. The Independent Market Monitor’s most recent State of the Market report made several recommendations on improving price formation. Texas regulators frequently discuss the need for real-time market co-optimization.

— RTO Insider


Houston Chronicle: Dynegy reports nearly $300 million loss for second quarter

Aug. 7 — Houston-based power company Dynegy said it lost nearly $300 million in the second quarter as it wrote off the value of Midwestern coal-fired power plants.

— Houston Chronicle


KRWG Public Media: Outrage Over El Paso Electric Solar Rate Proposal

Aug. 4 – Sen. José Rodríguez wrote a letter to El Paso City Council urging them to oppose El Paso Electric Company’s proposed pricing scheme for solar customers. EPE proposes to charge more to customers who seek to conserve power and lower costs; this is bad
for El Paso and could set a dangerous precedent for other communities across Texas.

— KRWG Public Media


Northeast News: Water Utility crisis nears resolution

Aug. 1 — Homeowners from four local subdivisions packed the hall at Hambrick Middle School last Thursday night, to hear government officials and water utility companies explain how the water quality crisis in their locales developed, and what remedy is being proposed to resolve the problems. The Town Hall meeting was organizaed by State Representative Armando Walle, after his office received numerous complaints about water that either was unfit to drink, or not available at all in the system.

— Northeast News


Platts: NRG says ERCOT reserve margins will tighten

Aug. 3 — NRG Energy said Thursday it is expecting a tightening of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas power market as new plant build delays and cancellations as well as retirements lower the reserve margin in 2018 to a projected 11.3%.

— Platts


Dallas Business Journal: Oncor’s new CEO in waiting: ‘There is only one deal on the table’

Aug. 3 — If Warren Buffett’s deal goes through, Oncor’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Allen Nye would take over the CEO post from Bob Shapard, who’s planning to retire.

— Dallas Business Journal


Dallas Morning News: Does the Bible say there’s oil in Israel? Thousands are paying a Dallas company to find out

Aug. 3 — With the Bible as its North Star, Zion Oil & Gas has spent more than $150 million of investors’ money on a “special task, in a special country” — Israel.

— Dallas Morning News


Dallas Morning News: Why a Texas politician cares about which light bulb you can buy

Aug. 23 — Lewsiville Rep. Michael Burgess is a medical doctor who stands out as a well-known Republican voice on health care and other marquee issues that consume Congress’ time and energy.

— Dallas Morning News


Utility Dive: Power generators burning less gas this year as prices rise

Aug. 4 — While the summer is not over yet, that peak daily burn rate would be slightly below last year’s peak of 42 Bcf/d which occurred on Aug. 11. But for the full year, EIA expects gas burn to be about 9% lower than in 2016.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Most states now have energy efficiency goals in place

Aug. 4 — Energy efficiency is a hot topic when it comes to utility load management, and increasingly states are developing policies through a mix of mandated requirements, voluntary goals, or pilot programs.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Most states now have energy efficiency goals in place

Aug. 4 — Energy efficiency is a hot topic when it comes to utility load management, and increasingly states are developing policies through a mix of mandated requirements, voluntary goals, or pilot programs.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: What’s missing from the 100% renewable energy debate

Aug. 3 — Media reports focused on the dispute about the resource mix and often overlooked how the energy system is evolving. But other researchers have begun to address the possibility of coupling together the many sectors of the economy that consume energy. They are thinking about new efficiencies from using electricity generated by renewables for heating and cooling and transportation.

— Utility Dive


NBC: Super-Colossal Wind Turbines May Be on the Horizon

Aug. 3 — One problem is that building bigger versions of the turbines you see on hillsides today simply isn’t feasible. Rotor blades tend to flex in high winds, raising the possibility that the rotors would strike the tower supporting them. Taller windmills will need stiffer blades positioned well away from the tower — which adds weight and cost.



Tyler Morning Telegraph: Conservatives raise questions over Buffett bid for Oncor

Aug. 1 — Warren Buffett’s decision to make a bid for Oncor has already won the praise of key Texas regulators, but the speed with which the Nebraska billionaire gained this approval has key Tea Party groups watching carefully.

— Tyler Morning Telegraph


Community Impact Newspaper: Frisco City Council opposes Oncor’s proposed rate increase

Aug. 1 — Frisco City Council passed a resolution Tuesday opposing a proposed rate increase from Oncor Electric Delivery Company The proposed rate increase, if approved, would cost a residential customer using 1000 kWh per month more than $6 per month, according to the city.

— Community Impact Newspaper

Houston Chronicle: Senate Bill could destroy list of low-income ratepayers

Aug. 2 — “But Senate Bill 1976 was meant to help such vulnerable Texans, despite the loss of that assistance,” said R.A. Dyer, a policy analyst for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a non-profit consumer advocacy group. “Like Mayor Turner, we’re now concerned that SB 1976 could be implemented in such a way as to have the opposite effect.”

— Houston Chronicle


Dallas Business Journal: Dallas-Fort Worth’s technology ‘brain gain’

Aug. 1 — Dallas-Fort Worth is adding tech employees at a rate that far surpasses the amount of tech degrees produced by the area, according to CBRE.

The region’s “brain gain” is second only to the San Fransisco bay area and shows DFW’s ability to retain its growing number of tech graduates while attracting new talent to the area.

— Dallas Business Journal


The Hill: Senators introduce bipartisan bill to bring high speed wireless to rural America

Aug. 1 — A pair of Senators introduce bipartisan bill to bring high speed wireless to rural America.

— The Hill


Lampasas Dispatch-Record:Ruling issued in water dispute

Aug. 1 — Addressing a dispute between the city of Lampasas and Kempner Water Supply Corp., the Public Utility Commission of Texas ruled Friday that Lampasas is entitled to provide water to its business park — which is within the city limits on U.S. Highway 183 South. The utility commission also ruled that Kempner Water Supply is not entitled to compensation from the city of Lampasas.

— Lampasas Dispatch-Record


Washington Post: We only have a 5 percent chance of avoiding ‘dangerous’ global warming, a study finds

July 31 — In recent years, it has become increasingly common to frame the climate change problem as a kind of countdown — each year we emit more carbon dioxide, narrowing the window for fixing the problem, but not quite closing it yet. After all, something could still change. Emissions could still start to plunge precipitously. Maybe next year.

— Washington Post


911 problems in four N. Texas cities resolved

July 31 — Residents in four North Texas cities, including Rowlett, Garland, Wylie and Plano, experienced 911 issues Monday morning.



Utility Dive: EPA planning ‘inside the fence’ Clean Power Plan replacement

Aug. 1 — Trump administration officials are planning to replace the Clean Power Plan with a narrower set of regulations aimed at thermal efficiency improvements at coal-fired power plants, S&P Global Market Intelligence reports.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: The post-merchant power sector: What unintentional re-regulation could look like

Aug. 1 — But if the struggles of the merchant generation model are well understood, less so is what a power sector without a thriving merchant presence would look like. Such upheavals in organized power markets have not been seen since the days of the California energy crisis, and the contours of the power sector in a post-merchant world remain an open question.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: US utilities knew of climate threat since 1960s

July 31 — U.S. electric utilities were warned of the threats of climate change as early as the 1960s and funded cutting-edge research into the subject in subsequent decades, according to a new report from the Energy and Policy Institute.

— Utility Dive


New York Times: Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid

July 29 — Green Mountain Power is trying to turn homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants, driven by economics as well as environmental goals.

— New York Times


Tyler Morning Telegraph: Rate increases start Tuesday for Liberty Utilities customers, if judge approves motion

July 31 — Liberty Utilities customers in Tyler and Smith County can expect to see rate increases on their September bills, if a judge approves a motion filed Monday.

— Tyler Morning Telegraph


San Antonio Express-News: Railroad Commissioner Sitton plays by own rules

July 31 — When Ryan Sitton was elected to the Railroad Commission of Texas in 2014, he was a political newcomer, but hardly new to the world of oil and gas. Sitton is a mechanical engineer, and the first engineer to serve as a Railroad Commissioner in decades.

— San Antonio Express- News


Houston Chronicle: Calpine confirms it’s negotiating sale

July 28 — Houston-based Calpine Corp., one of the nation’s largest merchant power companies, said Friday that its second-quarter loss widened from the previous year and confirmed that it is negotiating a sale with a potential buyer.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Chronicle: Wind farm construction grows across the U.S.

July 28 — The number of wind farm projects under construction in the U.S. has grown by 40 percent since this time last year, according to a second quarter analysis released Thursday by the American Wind Energy Association, a national trade group.

— Houston Chronicle


Utility Dive: Trump formally establishes infrastructure council, with focus on energy

July 26 — The President announced in January that two real estate developers, Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, would head the council. In addition to claims of secret meetings, Food & Water Watch is alleging the two developers have conflicts of interest as they have “longstanding personal and financial ties to the President” along with current projects that could benefit from the council’s work. The group filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Hiding in plain sight: Aggregated DERs in wholesale power markets

July 24 — Across the nation, DER providers and grid operators are facing similar issues that prevent aggregated resources from offering their full suite of benefits to the grid. New work to resolve the communications and operational issues from Tisdale’s think tank could provide way forward, but in the meantime the resources are getting a foot in the door through the well-established role of demand response providers.

— Utility Dive


Texas Tribune: Here’s where the Texas Legislature is on Gov. Abbott’s special session issues

July 27 — Gov. Greg Abbott called the 85th Texas Legislature back for a special session beginning July 18, initially to pass legislation needed to keep five state agencies in operation, and then to address a longer list of proposals for everything from restroom regulations to local tree ordinances. The governor opened a total of 20 for consideration; this is our constantly updated look at the Legislature’s progress during the 30-day special session.

 Texas Tribune


Bloomberg: Congress Is Still Fighting Over Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

July 27: Congressional Republicans renewed their effort to save the traditional light bulb, passing a measure to block federal energy standards that have come to symbolize government overreach for many consumers but are largely embraced by manufacturers as the cost of the newer bulbs has plummeted.

— Bloomberg


Inside Climate News: U.S. House Hacks Away at Renewable Energy, Efficiency Programs

July 27 — One area of energy funding the House spared as it voted on its ‘minibus’ budget bill was fossil fuel research. The Trump White House wanted deeper cuts.

— Inside Climate News


Utility Dive: US utilities knew of climate threat since 1960s

July 31 — U.S. electric utilities were warned of the threats of climate change as early as the 1960s and funded cutting-edge research into the subject in subsequent decades, according to a new report from the Energy and Policy Institute.

— Utility Dive


New York Times: Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid

July 29 — Green Mountain Power is trying to turn homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants, driven by economics as well as environmental goals.

— New York Times


Bloomberg: Growth-Starved Utilities Have Found a New Way to Make Money

July 26 — Here’s how it works: Some utilities that for years contracted to buy electricity from wind and solar farm owners are now shifting away from these so-called power purchase agreements, or PPAs. They’re instead seeking approval from state regulators to buy the assets outright and recover the costs from customers through rates. While the takeovers are being branded as a cheaper way of securing power, saving ratepayers millions in the end, they also guarantee profits for utilities.

— Bloomberg


Mesquite News: Oncor launches new alert tool

July 27: Oncor recently launched My Oncor Alerts, a service that allows their customers to learn the status of their power via email, text or voice messages. This is a free tool that also gives customers an idea of when their power might be back on and get status updates on an outage.

— Mesquite News


Reuters: Elliott Tries a Texas Charm Offensive to Outdo Berkshire’s Oncor Bid

July 27 — While Elliott Management Corp. tries to cobble together enough money to beat Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s $9 billion bid to buy one of America’s largest transmission operators, it has another problem to deal with: the state of Texas.

— Reuters


Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Lawsuit blames Oncor for the deaths of two boys who were electrocuted

July 27 — They were exploring a wooded area about 20 yards into a thicket of trees and brush just beyond a ball field, family members have said. Alex stepped in a puddle that was electrified by downed power lines on March 29. Isaiah tried to save him but received an electric shock as well.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Dallas Morning News: Brothers electrocuted by downed power line suffered ‘painful and agonizing death,’ lawsuit alleges

July 27 — The family of two Fort Worth brothers who were electrocuted in March by a downed power line are suing Oncor, Texas’ largest energy provider.

— Dallas Morning News


WFAA 8: Family of brothers killed by downed power line files lawsuit against Oncor

July 27 — The family of two brothers who died after being electrocuted by a downed power line after a storm in Fort Worth has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the electric company Oncor.

— WFAA 8


Murphy Monitor: Council rejects proposed Oncor rate increase

July 27 — The Murphy city council is doing their part to keep citizens’ electric bills on pace with the current rates from energy provider Oncor Electric.

— Murphy Monitor


Washington Post: Family of 2 young brothers killed by downed power line sues Texas electric company

July 27 — So on a Wednesday evening in March after school, the two brothers, Isaiah and Alex, ages 11 and 12 respectively, strolled through the park with their friends. A strong storm had hit the Fort Worth area the night before, on March 28, so there were puddles in some parts.

— Washington Post


RTO Insider: NextEra Seeks $275 million for failed Oncor bid

July 27 — NextEra Energy CEO Jim Robo said Wednesday that the Florida-based company would “vigorously” pursue a $275 million termination fee it says it is owed following a failed attempt to acquire Texas utility Oncor.

— RTO Insider


Platts: US ERCOT record July power peakloads expected through weekend

July 26 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas was expected to set new load highs three days in a row from Wednesday, propelled by the continued heat in the region.

— Platts


Reuters: Elliott wins more time to beat Berkshire Hathaway’s Oncor deal

July 26 — A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Wednesday gave Elliott Management Corp 11 more days to formalize its plans to bid on Oncor Electric Delivery Co before the court approves the $9 billion offer for the utility from Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

— Reuters


Houston Public Media: Texas Oil And Gas Regulator Pushes For Vote On FERC Nominees

July 26 — Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian wants action on nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

— Houston Public Media


Utility Dive: EPA proposes keeping current nitrogen dioxide emission standards

According to EPA, NO and NO2 emissions from coal and gas-fired electric generating units, one of the primary sources of the pollutants, are expected to decline over the next decade as newer units come online to meet various Clean Air Act requirements.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Trump formally establishes infrastructure council, with focus on energy

July 26 — According to the order, the council will study and make recommendations to the president regarding government funding of infrastructure projects in several sectors: surface transportation; aviation; ports and waterways; water resources; renewable energy generation; electricity transmission; broadband; and pipelines.’

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Gas plant makers embrace batteries with hybrid machines

July 25 — GE now has four of units in operation in pollution non-attainment zones in California, and has several more installations “in the works,” Eric Gebhardt, vice president of systems and innovations at GE, said.

— Utility Dive


The Guardian: US energy secretary Rick Perry duped by Russian pranksters to talk about pig manure

July 26 — Suspicions might have been raised when the 22-minute conversation turned to a claim by the pretend PM that the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko had invented a new biofuel made from home-brewed alcohol and pig manure, according to a translation.

— The Guardian


Tyler Morning Telegraph: Details in the works for Liberty Utilities rate case settlement, rates forthcoming

July 25 — The details of the settlement reached in the Liberty Utilities rate case remained confidential Tuesday as involved parties work out the terms.

— Tyler Morning Telegraph


Texas Monthly: NRG Energy Selling Off Its Renewable-Energy Projects

July 25 — NRG Energy, an independent power producer, has announced a plan to restructure the company.

— Texas Monthly


Texas Tribune: Persistence pays off for rural Texans besieged by sky-high power prices

July 25 — The proposal, which requires approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, would transform Sharyland ratepayers into Oncor customers.

— Texas Tribune


Utility Dive: ERCOT hits 3 peakload records in one day during heat wave

July 25 — But while ERCOT officials do not expect trouble in meeting demand this season, the region does face shrinking summer reserve margins.

– Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Texas muni to shut Gibbons Creek coal plant for most of the year

July 25 — The Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) told the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) about its plans.

— Utility Dive


Killeen Daily Herald: Killeen council approves contract for water-sewer plan

July 25 — The Killeen City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve a $338,400 contract with Freese & Nichols to develop the 2017 Water and Wastewater Master Plan at its regular meeting.

— Killeen Daily Herald


Power Distribution Utilities Network: Oncor agrees to swap utility assets with Sharyland and SDTS

July 25 — Texas electric utility Oncor Electric Delivery Company has agreed to swap assets with Sharyland Utilities and Sharyland Distribution & Transmission (SDTS) in a transaction worth nearly $400m.

— Power Distribution Utilities Network


Houston Chronicle: Gulf Coast wind farms become vital to Texas energy mix

July 25 — Nearly a decade ago, Duke Energy placed several weather towers along the Gulf Coast to measure winds coming off the Gulf of Mexico. Duke’s engineers were soon struck by one particular characteristic of the sea breezes: They blow like clockwork.

— Houston Chronicle


Inside Climate News: Is a Conservative Climate Movement Heating Up?

July 25 — Optimists see hope in growing GOP support for renewable energy, but many Republicans still steer clear of anything that says climate change.

— Inside Climate News


El Paso Times: Pickett’s bill seeks to stop higher electric rates for solar homes

July 21 — Texas state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, doesn’t think El Paso Electric should charge residential customers with solar systems more for electricity than non-solar customers.

— El Paso Times


Rueters: Prospect of Trump tariff casts pall over U.S. solar industry

July 25 — U.S. solar companies are snapping up cheap imported solar panels ahead of a trade decision by the Trump administration that could drive up costs and cloud the fortunes of one of the economy’s brightest stars.

— Reuters


Utility Dive: DER aggregation 101: For utilities, smaller resources can go a long way

July 24 — In the summer, when cooling demand spikes and a utility needs to reduce load, turning down one air conditioner doesn’t help much. Turning down a thousand would help, however. Which is a simple enough thing to realize, but difficult to execute, manage and monetize.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: ERCOT hits 3 peak demand records in one day during heat wave

July 25 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set three new records for July peak demand last week in three consecutive hours, ultimately peaking at 68,799 MW between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on July 20.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Gas plant makers embrace batteries with hybrid machines

July 25 — Manufacturers are responding to the market by combing energy storage with conventional generating plants.

— Utility Dive


Midland Reporter Telegram: Oncor, Sharyland to swap assets

July 24 — Oncor receives retail customers, distribution network; Sharyland receives 258 miles of transmission lines.

— Midland Reporter Telegram


Tyler Morning Telegraph: Settlement reached in Liberty Utilities rate case

July 24 — A settlement in the Liberty Utilities rate case has been reached, according to staff from state Rep. Matt Schaefer’s office.

— Tyler Morning Telegraph


Lubbock Avalanche Journal: State Sen. Kel Seliger pleased at Sharyland Utilities progress

July 24 –State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said on Monday that he is pleased with recent progress regarding Sharyland Utilities, L.P. and Sharyland Distribution & Transmission Services, L.L.C. that could result in significant savings for Sharyland consumers, according to a news release.

— Lubbock Avalanche Journal


NPR: $400M Utilities Swap Could Benefit Northeast Texas

July 23 — A $400 million deal signed Monday between Oncor, Texas’ largest utility services provider, and the West Texas-based Sharyland Utilities is expected to significantly lower electricity bills for Sharyland customers, including several in parts of Hunt and Collin counties.



Dallas Morning News: Thousands near Greenville and in West Texas are about to get much cheaper electric bills

July 24 –About 54,000 Texans can expect significantly lower electric bills thanks to a $400 million deal struck between Texas’ largest regulated utility, Oncor, and Sharyland, a Hunt family-owned utility.

— Dallas Morning News


Big Spring Herald: Sharyland Utilities announces transaction with Oncor and agreement on rate case dismissal

July 24 – Sharyland Utilities, L.P. (Sharyland or Sharyland Utilities) announced today that it and Sharyland Distribution & Transmission Services, L.L.C. (SDTS) have signed a definitive agreement with Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC (Oncor) to exchange their retail distribution assets and retail distribution operations for a set of Oncor’s transmission lines in West and Central Texas. In connection with this agreement, Sharyland and SDTS, along with other parties, have agreed to dismiss Sharyland’s current rate case upon closing of the Oncor transaction. This proposed transaction means that Sharyland’s approximately 54,000 retail distribution customers.

— Big Spring Herald


Dallas Business Journal: Hunt does Sharyland utility swap with Oncor

July 24 — One year after withdrawing from a deal to buy Oncor, the Hunt family has struck smaller swap agreement with the Dallas utility giant Monday, which is expected to lead to smaller electricity bills.

— Dallas Business Journal


Utility Dive: Straight shootin’: Buffett bid for Texas utility reflects regulatory desire for simplicity

July 24 — Unlike other offers, Oncor would retain its corporate structure under Berkshire Hathaway ownership. But a well-heeled rival could complicate the sale again.

— Utility Dive


KHOU TV: Can your power be turned off in heat wave?

July 24 — A viewer emailed our Verify Team with a question about losing power on one of the hottest days of the year.



Utility Dive: National Academies report finds grid vulnerable to cyber, physical attacks

July 24 — A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concludes the United States’ electric grid is vulnerable to a range of threats, including terrorism or natural disasters that could potentially cause long-term and widespread blackouts.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Texas muni to shut Gibbons Creek coal plant for most of the year

July 24 –The Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) told the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) that it plans to operate the 470 MW coal-fired Gibbons Creek power for only five months of the year.

— Utility Dive


WFAA — Battle over wastewater injection wells in Lake Arlington

July 21 — In paperwork filed with the Texas Railroad Commission to withdraw its application, the company did not explain its reasoning.



Platts: Peakload soars across much of US as heat bakes Midwest, East Coast

July 21 — Grid operators stretching from the Midwest to East Coast this week were seeing some of the highest loads so far this year as hot weather was driving cooling demand.

— Platts


Dallas Morning News: NextEra suing Texas regulators who rejected its offer to buy Dallas’ Oncor

July 22 — The lawsuit, filed in Austin state court last week, comes as Berkshire Hathaway and Wall Street hedge fund Elliott Management are in a race to buy Oncor. It’s not clear how the litigation might affect that.

— Dallas Morning News


El Paso Times: Pickett’s bill seeks to stop higher electric rates for solar homes

July 21 — Texas state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, doesn’t think El Paso Electric should charge residential customers with solar systems more for electricity than non-solar customers.

— El Paso Times


Houston Chronicle: Houston company helps H-E-B keep the lights on

July 20 — The next time the wind blows and the lights go out along the Texas coast, odds are your local H-E-B will be open for business, providing food, ice and a place to cool down, thanks to a new power player in Houston.

— Houston Chronicle


Platts: Texas city tells ERCOT it plans to operate coal-fired plant seasonally

July 20 — The Texas city of Garland, near Dallas, has told the Electric Reliability Council of Texas it plans to mothball its 470-MW coal-fired plant on a seasonal basis, starting October 17.

— Platts


Dallas Morning News: Is Warren Buffett a white knight for Texas’ Oncor? Don’t forget the ‘battle of billionaires’

July 20 — When Buffett bids for a company, he’s often welcomed as a white knight. With Oncor, he’s stepping forward after two previous buyouts were derailed by Austin regulators. Four major stakeholder groups in Texas, including the Public Utility Commission staff, have already endorsed the deal.

— Dallas Morning News


Tyler Morning Telegraph: Ratepayers come out as winners in ongoing Oncor acquisition battle

July 14 — While the sale price may be lower, the two new offers are an improvement for consumers over the previous proposal, as well as an earlier bid by Hunt Consolidated. NextEra, a Florida-based energy company, had valued Oncor at $18.7 billion but that bid was rejected by the state Public Utility Commission. The three-member commission was hesitant about an agreement that would force Oncor to surrender its independence. NextEra had insisted on controlling Oncor’s board, and it wanted to weaken ring-fence requirements that protected the company during Energy Future’s bankruptcy.

— Tyler Morning Telegraph


Brownsville Herald: City commission votes to review gas proposal

July 12 — The city, along with the City of McAllen and other Rio GrandeValley cities, has contracted Geoffrey Gay of Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle and Townshed and Karl J. Nalepa of ReSolved Energy Consulting, L.L.C., to review the Texas Gas Company’s proposal and make recommendations regarding reasonable rates.

— The Brownsville Herald


Dallas Morning News: If Warren Buffett’s billions meet Oncor’s wish list, here’s how Texas stands to gain

July 14 — The energy unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. recently agreed to buy Oncor for $18 billion, including debt.

Dallas Morning News


KXAN: Energy costs in Texas are at a 10-year low for some, according to TCAP report

July 12 — That report, released by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, indicated that “average residential electricity prices in areas of Texas with retail electric competition have declined during a recent 10-year period, while average prices have increased during that same period in areas exempt from electric competition.”



Reuters: Elliott tells court it was barred from seeking Oncor financing

July 12 — An attorney for Elliott Management on Wednesday complained to a bankruptcy court judge that the owner of Texas’s largest power distribution business did not provide the investment fund with information needed to line up financing for its offer of more than $18 billion to buy the company.

— Reuters


KFDX: According To A New Report, Electric Prices Are Down

July 12 — The data was compiled through 2015, the most recent year with available statistics. “One of the takeaways from the report is there’s good news and bad news,” the report’s author, TCAP policy analyst R.A. “Jake” Dyer, said.



Dallas Business Journal: Oncor deal may signal ‘turning point’ for Warren Buffett’s Berkshire

July 11 — Wall Street is wondering how the deal for Dallas-based Oncor indicates who will succeed the Oracle of Omaha.

— Dallas Business Journal


MyHighPlains.com: Electricity Costs Across Texas

July 12 — To be clear, prices in the noncompetitive markets are lower but the competitive markets are closing the gap, according to the TCAP report.

— MyHighPlains.com


San Antonio Business Journal: CPS Energy below state average for electricity rates

July 12 — A statewide study released Tuesday by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power shows that electricity rates in San Antonio remain well below the state average.

— San Antonio Business Journal


Houston Public Media: Report Finds “Mixed Results” From Electric Market Deregulation

July 11 — The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power describes it as a “good news/bad news” report.

— Houston Public Media


Bloomberg: Berkshire’s Oncor Bid Is $300 Million Short, Elliott Management Says

July 11 –If Berkshire raised its offer to buy Oncor by $300 million, Elliott has “suggested that they’d take the money and go away,” CEO Bob Shapard said Tuesday. “It’s not that big of a number. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that Berkshire should make it up. It just means it’s not that big of a number.”

— Bloomberg


Houston Chronicle: In race for cheapest power, regulated rates still win, study finds

July 11 — Residential electricity prices have fallen over the last decade for Texans who live in areas with competitive electricity markets, according to a study released Tuesday by the non-profit Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.

— Houston Chronicle


New York Times: The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Teams

July 11 — President Trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations.

— New York Times


Energy Wire: Cap and trade is alive, and it might grow under Trump

July 10 — The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative once labored in the shadows of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. No longer. President Trump’s dismantling of climate initiatives has pushed America’s only multistate cap-and-trade program to the fore of U.S. carbon-cutting efforts.

— Energy Wire


Houston Chronicle: West Texas transmission line planned to meet growing power demand

July 10 — Oil and gas development and the expansion of utility-scale solar farms are driving the construction of a new transmission line in West Texas.

— Houston Chronicle


Texas Monthly: A Texas Company Wants to Spread Wind Power Across the U.S.

July 8 — Clean Line Energy Partners, much like myriad other companies based in Houston, is jockeying for the opportunity to provide energy to the rest of the country. “If you have gas in one area, you put it in a pipeline and ship it to where it’s needed,” says Sarah Bray, the Vice President of Communications at the company. “You put coal on a train and bring it to where it’s needed, delivering it to a market and it goes through the local utility grid. That’s kind of our business model.”

— Texas Monthly


New York Times: Elliott Hedge Fund Seeks to Challenge Buffett’s Bid for Energy Company

July 10 — The hedge fund Elliott Management is hoping to block Warren E. Buffett’s $9 billion takeover bid for Energy Future Holdings, the bankrupt Texas power giant, by working on an even higher offer.

— New York Times


Reuters: Elliott proposes $18.5 billion Oncor deal to top Buffett

July 10 — Elliott Management Corp, the largest creditor of the bankrupt parent of Oncor Electric Delivery Co, unveiled a plan on Monday to best Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s (BRKa.N) deal for the Texas utility with a bid worth $18.5 billion, including debt.

— Reuters


Washington Post: Towns sell their public water systems — and come to regret it

July 8 — Neglected water infrastructure is a national plague. By one estimate, U.S. water systems need to invest $1 trillion over the next 20 years. Meanwhile, federal funding for water infrastructure has fallen 74 percent in real terms since 1977, and low-interest government loans have not filled the gap.

— Washington Post


New York Times: Rooftop Solar Dims Under Pressure From Utility Lobbyists

July 8 — Utilities argue that rules allowing private solar customers to sell excess power back to the grid at the retail price — a practice known as net metering — can be unfair to homeowners who do not want or cannot afford their own solar installations.

— New York Times


Energy Wire: Warren Buffett’s $9B Oncor bid boosts chastened utility

July 10 — Warren Buffett might finally be happy to talk about Energy Future Holdings Corp., despite a bad investment years ago.

— Energy Wire


Odessa American: Odessa power plant bought for $350M

July 7 — The parent company for TXU Energy and Luminant will acquire an Odessa gas-fired power plant for $350 million in cash from a unit of Koch Industries in a deal that forecasts continued abundance of Permian Basin natural gas at a low price.

— Odessa American


Reuters: Buffett bets big on power with $9 billion Oncor deal

July 7 — If the all-cash purchase wins approval from federal and state regulators and a bankruptcy judge, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit will assume control of one of the largest U.S. electricity transmission companies.

— Reuters


Bloomberg: Berkshire Wastes No Time Wooing Texas to Close Oncor Deal

July 7 — Berkshire announced Friday that it’ll buy Oncor in a deal said to be valued at about $17.5 billion. And the company is already promising measures that’ll shield Oncor from potential bankruptcy at other units and an independent board with sole authority over dividends, an emailed document from Oncor shows.

— Bloomberg


New York Times: Buffett Needs to Be Bigger in Texas

July 7 — His Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate is taking a second stab at Oncor, a Texas electricity provider, and its parent company, Energy Future, six years after a $2 billion investment led to hefty losses. Two other suitors previously failed to reach accord with regulators, however. Creditors, too, may require some sweet talk.

— New York Times


Houston Chronicle: Berkshire Hathaway makes deal to win PUC approval of Oncor acquisition

July 7 — While the PUC must review the proposed deal, the agreement could bring Berkshire success where other companies failed, said Geoffrey Gay, a lawyer for the Steering Committee for Cities Served by Oncor, a group that advocates for cities and consumers. Gay signed the agreement and helped draft it.

— Houston Chronicle


CNBC: Warren Buffett may have some competition for latest deal from an activist hedge fund manage

July 7 — Elliott Management Corp., the activist hedge fund may be gumming up the works. Reuters reported Friday afternoon that the firm, run by billionaire Paul Singer, may consider a rival bid for Oncor. Elliott is a major creditor of Energy Future Holdings, which owns most of Oncor and has been working its way through bankruptcy court.



Texas Monthly: Warren Buffett Set to Become a Texas Energy Tycoon

July 9 — Buffett’s latest investment is a $9 billion, all-cash deal to buy Energy Future Holdings, the parent company of Texas electric grid giant Oncor. The subsidiary is the biggest utility in Texas, according to the New York Times, clocking in at 10 million customers.

— Texas Monthly


Dallas Morning News: Berkshire Hathaway wants Texas electricity giant Oncor and may have the power to buy it

July 7 — But the offer already has the support of the PUC staff, office of the Texas Public Utility Counsel, Texas Industrial Energy Consumers and the Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor.

— Dallas Morning News


Houston Chronicle: Renewable energy surpasses nuclear power – for now

July 6 — Electricity generated by wind, solar and hydroelectric sources in March and April exceeded power provided by nuclear plants for the first time in more than 30 years, when nuclear plants were still coming into the power mix, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

— Houston Chronicle


Texas Tribune: Warren Buffett unveils deal to buy big piece of Texas electric grid

July 7 — Warren Buffet is making a play for Texas’ largest electric transmission utility. Berkshire Hathaway, his multinational conglomerate, has unveiled an deal to buy Oncor.

— Texas Tribune


Longview News Journal: Electric deregulation a complicated process

QUESTION: Will Longview ever stop deregulation on electric energy in local homes and apartments etc. and give homeowners, business owners and renters a chance to select their own electric company?

— Longview News-Journal


Reuters: Buffett bets big on energy with $9 billion Oncor buy

July 7 –Warren Buffett’s move to spend $9 billion on his largest energy sector acquisition reflects his long-standing drive to diversify his Berkshire Hathaway Inc and deepens his commitment to electricity as a means to boost profit.

— Reuters


Dallas Morning News: Texas’ largest power producer bets big on natural gas, buys Odessa plant for $350 million

July 7 — The company bought two natural gas power plants while Luminant’s old parent company, Energy Future Holdings, was in bankruptcy.

— Dallas Morning News


CNBC: Berkshire Hathaway Energy is close to a $17.5 billion deal for Oncor, report says

July 6 — Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy is nearing a $17.5 billion deal to acquire Oncor, according to people familiar with the matter.



Vox: Obama didn’t crush US coal, and Trump can’t save it

July 5 — In his campaign, Donald Trump seized on that resonance with an odd kind of fervor, using miners as props in political rallies and promising, again and again, to put them back to work. He has managed to make the fate of coal miners a synecdoche for the fate of the white working class writ large.

— Vox


Utility Dive: Gas plant construction costs fell 30% in 2015

July 6: The cost to construct new electricity capacity has been broadly declining, according to an analysis of data from 2013 to 2015, conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Pressed duck: Clipping the curve with energy storage

July 5 — Advocates say, given the right incentives, energy storage could help flatten the duck. The duck, of course, is the “duck curve” made famous by the California ISO as a representation of what happens when mid-day solar power peaks and then begins to fade and drop off, leading to a sharp spike in evening demand.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: NEI: Nuclear plants not ‘penetrated’ by cyberattacks

July 6 — In a report released last week, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said nuclear power plants were among the targets of a hacking campaign that dated back to at least May.

— Utility Dive


KUOW: After Surges In West Texas, ERCOT Pushes A Plan To Expand Transmission Lines

July 6 — The group that manages almost all of the Texas electric grid has decided it’s a good idea to build out more transmission lines in West Texas. That in itself might not sound like a big deal, but the reason behind it is. KUT’s Mose Buchele joins Morning Edition host Jennifer Stayton to explain.



Utility Dive: Texas regulators say it’s time to move past NextEra’s bid for Oncor

July 5 — The Public Utilities Commission of Texas rejected NextEra Energy’s proposal to to purchase Oncor Electric out of bankruptcy for a third time, and a brief memorandum indicates regulators may be tiring of the proceeding.

— Utility Dive


Dallas Morning News: McAllen announces run for Texas Railroad Commission

July 5 — Roman McAllen announced via social media Tuesday that he plans to run as a Democratic candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission.

— Dallas Morning News


Bloomberg: As the temperatures rise, Texas wind power cools down

July 5 — Wind farms – which now account for about a fifth of the state’s power mix – are forecast to generate significantly less electricity this week as the heat builds and keeps turbines from spinning. Wind generation may peak at about 5,900 megawatts on Thursday and 6,900 megawatts Friday, less than two-thirds of what they totaled a week earlier, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.

— Bloomberg


Houston Chronicle: High winds on hot days could help lower electric bills

July 5 — Texas is redefining wind – transforming it from a fickle energy resource into something that power companies and utilities might even call reliable.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Chronicle: El Paso case could set the path for rooftop solar

July 4 — Utility in West Texas proposes rate structure that would put additional charges in the bills of its customers with rooftop panels.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Chronicle: El Paso case could set the path for rooftop solar

July 4 — Utility in West Texas proposes rate structure that would put additional charges in the bills of its customers with rooftop panels.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Chronicle: U.S. still leans heavily on fossil fuels for power

July 5 — The rapid expansion of wind and solar power in the U.S. can often obscure another reality: the country still leans heavily on fossil fuels.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Public Media: West Texas Transmission Line Project Takes A Step Forward

July 3 — The project calls for new high-voltage lines across five sparsely-populated counties near the New Mexico border.

— Houston Public Media


Times Record News: City fights Oncor electric rate hike

July 3 — Wichita Falls and 158 other cities are members of the Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor that serves as the primary advocate for the public to the Public Utility Commission, courts and other legislative bodies concerning electricity regulation.

— Times Record News


Amarillo Globe-News: Xcel proposes fuel surcharge, would be fifth rate increase since October

June 30 — Xcel Energy proposed a $1.48 fuel surcharge to adjust to natural gas market prices on Friday, the fifth increase the company has enacted or proposed since October 2016

— Amarillo Globe-News


Utility Dive: Third time the charm? NextEra asks Texas regulators to approve Oncor acquisition

June 30 — Regulators cited concerns about the independence of the utility’s board and the possibility of increased risk for ratepayers, while NextEra did nothing to alleviate those concerns in its rehearing requests.

— Utility Dive


KGBT TV: Utility assistance program seeks funding for low-income households

July 2 — A Hidalgo County agency is seeking additional funds to help low-income families pay their bills.



Texas Tribune: The Texas solar industry is growing. Some fear an international trade case could end that.

June 29 — Cheap, imported solar panels have fueled growth in the solar industry in Texas, and reinvigorated the careers of laid-off oilfield workers. Some industry leaders fear a trade case will increase prices and end that growth.

— Texas Tribune


Reuters: Investors slowly start to push climate change up their agenda

June 30 — Investors are slowly starting to push companies to reduce their carbon footprint and help the world meet targets on limiting global warming that were agreed in the 2015 Paris climate talks.

— Reuters


Utility Dive: FERC Commissioner Honorable steps down today

June 30 –Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Colette Honorable steps down today, marking the end of a two-and-a-half year term after her appointment by former President Obama in 2014. Her departure leaves one active regulator at the agency as President Trump’s three nominees await confirmation by the Senate.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Senate fast-tracks new version of bipartisan energy reform bill

June 30 — Leaders on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday introduced a new version of their bipartisan energy proposal that stalled in a conference committee with the House late last year.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Trump announces nuclear policy review in DOE speech

June 29 — President Trump announced a “complete review” of U.S. federal nuclear energy policy in a speech at the Department of Energy on Thursday, among other federal energy initiatives.

— Utility Dive


PBS: Trump lays out plan for ‘energy dominance’

June 29 — President Donald Trump said he would expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as part of a broad strategy to make the U.S. “energy dominant” in the global market.



Houston Chronicle: Value of rooftop solar up for debate again in El Paso

June 30 — El Paso Electric, the city-run utility that serves the far West Texas city and parts of New Mexico, is again at the center of a debate over how to value power from rooftop solar panels.

— Houston Chronicle


Dallas Business Journal: Florida utility giant blasts regulators for rejection of Oncor purchase

July 28 — NextEra Energy is making one final plea with the Texas Public Utility Commission to reconsider its decision earlier this year that rejected the Florida power company’s $18.7 billion acquisition of Dallas-based Oncor.

— Dallas Business Journal.


Bloomberg: PUC again rejects NextEra’s request for rehearing on Oncor bid

June 29 — NextEra Energy failed to persuade skeptical utility regulators in Texas to take another look at its stalled $18.4 billion bid for Oncor Electric Delivery.

— Bloomberg


Harker Heights Herald: City Council denies Oncor rate hike

June 30 — The Harker Heights City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to deny a rate hike proposed by Oncor, the city’s electric utility delivery company.

— Harker Heights Herald


Vox: Exxon’s support for a carbon tax is the first step in big oil’s long, negotiated surrender

June 27 — It made news last week when ExxonMobil, along with a slate of other big companies, including other oil giants, backed a plan for a substantial, rising US carbon tax.

— Vox


Utility Dive: Perry touts all-of-the-above strategy in push for ‘energy dominance’

June 28 — Just before the week kicked off, the Trump administration made a notable shift in their energy rhetoric. Instead of “energy independence” the key theme in the administration is “energy dominance.”

— Utility Dive


Houston Chronicle: What natural gas prices have done to wholesale power costs

June 29 — In recent years, the abundance of cheap natural gas has lowered electricity prices in Texas, a benefit that has trickled down — somewhat — to customers.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Chronicle: NextEra again challenges PUC’s rejection of Oncor Acquisition

June 28 – NextEra Energy is making one final plea with the Texas Public Utility Commission to reconsider its decision earlier this year that rejected the Florida power company’s $18.7 billion acquisition of Dallas-based Oncor.

— Houston Chronicle


GreenTech Media: Solar Costs Are Hitting Jaw-Dropping Lows in Every Region of the World

June 27 — GTM Research expects a 27 percent drop in average global project prices by 2022, or about 4.4 percent each year. Those improvements are not limited to the U.S. They are occurring globally, and in some cases resulting in even sharper price declines than those America is experiencing.

— GreenTech Media


Utility Dive: Cyberattacks targeted US nuclear sites this year

June 27 — United States officials are investigating multiple cyberattacks that unsuccessfully targeted nuclear generation sites sometime this year, E&E News reports. The event has been code named “Nuclear 17.”

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: As gas plants struggle, California seeks new flexible capacity strategies

June 27 — With up to 6 GW of gas plants at risk of closure, energy planners are scrambling for new compensation techniques and zero-carbon alternatives.

— Utility Dive


Dallas Morning News: NextEra won’t take Texas’ no for an answer in quest to be state’s power giant

June 28 — The Florida company that wants to buy Texas’ largest regulated utility refuses to give up on its $18.7 billion offer to buy Oncor.

— Dallas Morning News


Utility Dive: US mayors pass resolution to target 100% renewable energy by 2035

June 27 — The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) on Monday approved a resolution supporting a 100% renewable energy goal by 2035, and launched the Ready for 100 campaign to support the utilization of more clean power.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Nuke financial woes are a ‘market failure’

June 27 — The trend of retirements and financial woes of the United States nuclear fleet is a result of market failure and the weakness of the merchant generator business model, according to panelists at the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s annual conference.

— Utility Dive


Texas Tribune: Texas should listen to its own scientific task force about methane

June 27 — When burned, natural gas has about half the CO2 emissions of coal (that’s good!), but the release of methane into the atmosphere can greatly erode that benefit.

— Texas Tribune


Utility Dive: New Brattle study touts flexible grid, dismisses ‘baseload’ hype

June 27 — A report prepared by the Brattle Group for the Natural Resources Defense Council outlines the myriad reasons some coal and nuclear plants are considering retirement and cautions against focusing on the plants’ so-called “baseload” attributes.

— Utility Dive


Energy Wire: Nuclear breach opens new chapter in cyber struggle

June 27 — U.S. authorities are investigating a cyber intrusion affecting multiple nuclear power generation sites this year, E&E News has learned.

— Energy Wire


New York Times: Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize

June 26 — On the best days, the wind howling across this rugged promontory has not touched land for thousands of miles, and the arriving air seems as if it should be the cleanest in the world.

— New York Times


Utility Dive: Proposed solar tariffs could put 47 GW of planned installations at risk

June 27 — A trade dispute over the price of imported solar panels could mean serious trouble for the United States industry, according to new analysis fom GTM Research. The firm estimates more than 47 GW of solar installations could be at risk if Suniva wins its case before the International Trade Commission.

— Utility Dive


VictoriaAdvocateVictoria Advocate: Electronic well log saves time, money for commission

June 26 — The new well log electronic filing system has reduced the burden on operators and saved both the industry and Railroad Commission thousands of dollars and man-hours in its first six months of use, according to a news release from the commission.

— Victoria Advocate


HoustonChronicleHouston Chronicle: Texas Railroad Commission’s funding nearly doubled

June 26 — The agency has been chronically underfunded in recent years as the oil bust reduced the fees it collects and increased the number of abandoned well sites it has had to clean up. Operating at a deficit over the past year, the agency’s cut its budget by $1.3 million a month, froze hiring, cut back plans to update its aging technology and focused on funding its two core functions: permitting wells and inspecting them.

— Houston Chronicle


NewsWest9: Extra power crews headed to Permian Basin to assist with outages

June 23 — According to Sue Mercer with ONCOR, crews from Metroplex are headed to the area to assist with power restoration.
As of 9 p.m., there were just over 9,900 customers without power across the ONCOR system, with 6,703 customers in Midland and 2,390 customers in Odessa.

— NewsWest9


Weatherford Democrat: Earthquake rattles Parker County again

June 23 — For the first time since a swarm of earthquakes shook up northeast Parker County in late 2013 and early 2014, area residents felt a 2.8- magnitude earthquake on Wednesday.

— Weatherford Democrat


HoustonChronicleHouston Chronicle: Western earthquakes likely connected to wastewater injection

June 22 — An increase in earthquakes in the Rocky Mountain and Oklahoma region is likely tied to an uptick in wastewater injection, a process used to dispose of water in oil and gas operations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
— Houston Chronicle


Malakoff News: Malakoff City Council adopts ACSC Resolution

The council adopted a resolution authorizing the continued participation with the ATMOS Cities Steering Committee to fund regulatory and activities related to Atmos Energy Corporation.

— Malakoff News


Mesquite News: Mesquite Agrees to Gas Rate Case Settlement.

June 21 — The ordinance to accept the negotiated settlement between the Atmos Cities Steering Committee (ACSC) and Atmos Energy Corporation passed.

— Mesquite News


KRGV: ERCOT Keeping Close Eye on Valley’s Electric Usage

June 22 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas manages the electric flow for about 24 million Texans. They said they’re keeping a close eye on the Valley for now.



EE-Publishing-300x104Climate Wire: Energy CEOs tell Pruitt they want carbon regulation

June 22 — Dozens of power industry executives who flew to Washington for a Monday meeting with U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had three minutes apiece to tell him whether they want to replace the Clean Power Plan.

— Climate Wire


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Merchant generation industry ‘in crisis’ across US

June 22 — The merchant generation industry is seriously compromised, says a new report from Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP and the Power Research Group, and some large generators could be “headed toward a second round of bankruptcies in less than twenty years.”

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Utility customer engagement goes digital

June 19 — Almost any commercial transaction consumers have today includes a digital, online, and/or mobile option. Customer satisfaction measurably rises with interactions that are personal, self-service, and available 24-7. Like the rest of the retail world, utilities are turning to digital to engage customers in these ways.

— Utility Dive


UtilityDiveUtility Dive: DOE grid study deadline delayed as Perry defends budget proposal

June 22 – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry yesterday testified before the Senate Committee on Appropriations in the second of three hearings where he is scheduled to appear this week. Questioning focused on the White House’s proposed cuts to research and energy efficiency, and the development of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site in Nevada.

— Utility Dive


Copperas Cove Leader-Press: City seeks to deny proposed Oncor rate increases

Copperas Cove Leader PressJune 21 — During tonight’s Copperas Cove city council meeting, city staff are presenting a resolution for approval which would be sent to Oncor. Copperas Cove belongs to the Steering Committee of Cities Served By Oncor, and those communities are denying Oncor’s request for a rate increase.

–Copperas Cove Leader-Press


Lubbock Avalanche JournalLubbock Avalanche-Journal: Lubbock Power & Light advances smart meters in upcoming budget

June 21 — Lubbock’s Electric Utility Board adopted a budget for next year that calls for the funding of citywide advanced electric meters, or smart meters.

— Lubbock Avalanche-Journal


HoustonChronicleHouston Chronicle: When Texas produced (almost) no oil

June 21 — There was a time when Texas, one of the predominant oil and gas producers in the world, produced close nothing at all.

— Houston Chronicle


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Perry defends proposed DOE cuts, baseload review at House hearing

June 21 — Perry told the Subcommittee on Energy and Water that the budget reflects “difficult choices,” but he also indicated the Trump administration does not expect all of the cuts to survive Congressional review.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Hold ’em or fold ’em: New nuclear build permits hold ‘option value’ for five utilities

June 21 — Recent news about nuclear power plants would not seem to be conducive to building a new nuclear plant, but five electric companies are keeping their plans for new reactors alive.

— Utility Dive


Bloomberg LogoBloomberg: Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Make Money

June 20 — As attractive a renewable-energy concept as wind power is, it’s plagued by a fundamental flaw. It blows the most in the dead of night, precisely when there’s the least demand for electricity. That’s true for just about every wind-blown spot across the U.S., from the foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains in California to the coastal plains of North Carolina.

— Bloomberg


ReutersReuters: Big Companies are America’s hungriest wind and solar power users

June 21 — Major U.S. corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and General Motors Co (GM.N) have become some of America’s biggest buyers of renewable energy, driving growth in an industry seen as key to helping the United States cut carbon emissions.

— Reuters


UtilityDiveUtility Dive: Utilities in hot water: Realizing the benefits of grid-integrated water heaters

June 20 — Water heaters offer storage capabilities at a fraction of the cost of batteries. The challenge is getting everyone a piece of the returns.

– Utility Dive


UtilityDiveUtility Dive: Utilities are finding new ways to communicate with their consumers

June 20 — Remember when no one wanted to talk with their utility? That’s not the case anymore.

— Utility Dive


ReutersReuters: Wind, solar energy have not harmed U.S. power grid: industry study

June 20 — With the Trump administration expected to publish an analysis that could undermine the U.S. wind and solar industries, two renewable energy lobbying groups on Tuesday released their own study saying new energy sources pose no threat to the country’s power grid.

— Reuters


the-washington-post-logoWashington Post: A bitter scientific debate just erupted over the future of America’s power grid

June 19 — Scientists are engaged in an increasingly bitter and personal feud over how much power the United States can get from renewable sources, with a large group of researchers taking aim at a popular recent paper that claimed the country could move beyond fossil fuels entirely by 2055.

— Washington Post


Bloomberg LogoBloomberg: Trump EPA Chief Met Energy CEOs at Trump Hotel Amid Rollback

June 16 — U.S. environmental chief Scott Pruitt met in March with oil executives over dinner in Trump International Hotel, just as he was moving to relieve the industry of one of its biggest Obama-era regulatory burdens: a requirement to curtail methane leaks.

— Bloomberg


VOXVox: The global coal boom finally seems to be winding down

June 16 — Since 2000 or so, China — along with, to a lesser extent, India and other developing nations — has been on a coal binge, building coal-fired power plants at a breakneck pace. Coal is what powered the country’s ludicrous, double-digit growth rates and lifted millions of rural Chinese out of poverty.

— Vox


HoustonChronicleHouston Chronicle: Texas regulators to put information of oil company penalties, complaints online

June 16 — While the Railroad Commission of Texas oversees one of the most prolific oil and gas regions in the world, the agency’s hordes of data and documents remain snared in a filing system that has yet to make it to the 21st century.

— Houston Chronicle


Star-Telegram LogoFort Worth Star-Telegram: BlueStone drops bid to drill Lake Arlington injection well

June 16 — BlueStone Natural Resources II is dropping a plan to drill a saltwater injection well near Lake Arlington, a project that was widely criticized by residents and city officials as a threat to the area’s water supply.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram


RTOInsiderRTO Insider: US Resource Adequacy Good for Hot Summer

June 15 — Planning reserve margins across most of the U.S. are expected to be adequate for a hotter-than-normal summer, with only ISO-NE barely missing its NERC target, FERC said in its annual summer reliability report released Thursday.

— RTO Insider


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Utility-scale solar prices drop below $1/watt for first time

June 12 — In 2016, solar was the largest source of new capacity additions, largely due to a wave of installations amid uncertainty whether the federal investment tax credit would be extended. But rooftop solar will not witness the same explosive growth as seen in previous years.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveUtility Dive: The utility sector’s business case for deep decarbonization

June 13 — A board of CEOs told reporters that President Obama’s Clean Power Plan would raise costs and potentially present reliability issues. In the words of AEP’s CEO Nick Akins, the proposed regulation needed to be reworked so that its carbon targets are “reasonable and rational.”

— Utility Dive


Bloomberg LogoBloomberg: EPA’s Pruitt Blamed Obama for Paris Deal at G-7 Climate Summit

June 12 — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt blamed former President Barack Obama for forging a bad Paris climate deal, leaving the U.S. with the job of extricating itself, the German environment minister said.

— Bloomberg


VOXVOX: “Do you believe?” is the wrong question to ask public officials about climate change

June 9 — The question Trump and his appointees should be asked again and again is not “Do you believe?” but “What is your plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?” You say you “care.” You say the administration is “environmentally responsible.” So what are you going to do about it?

— Vox


HoustonChronicleHouston Chronicle: Texas power plants among nation’s top emitters of carbon dioxide

June 16 — Power plants in Texas are among those that lead the nation in emissions that contribute to global warming and pollution, according to a new report.

— Houston Chronicle


NewsWest9: ERCOT approves transmission project in West Texas, will span 101 miles

June 14 — More counties will be powered in West Texas.The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has approved a transmission project in West Texas. This will include two new 345-KV lines that will help address future reliability concerns.
— NewsWest9


NBC5_DFWDallas Questions Whether Atmos Rates are ‘Excessive’

June 14 — Dallas city council members will introduce a resolution on Wednesday that will order Atmos Energy to show cause “demonstrating the reasonableness” of its natural gas distribution rates in the city.



new-york-times-logoNew York Times: How Retiring Nuclear Power Plants May Undercut U.S. Climate Goals

June 13 — Over the last decade, a glut of cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing has driven hundreds of dirtier coal plants in the United States out of business, a big reason carbon dioxide emissions fell 14 percent from 2005 to 2016.

— New York Times


VOXVox: Meet the fossil fuel all-stars Trump has appointed to his administration

June 14 — Here are a few of the men and women with notable connections to the energy industry who will be running the federal government for the next few years in the Department of Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), State, and National Economic Council.

— Vox


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Energy storage hits record growth in Q1 2017, but slowdown likely

June 13 — The first quarter was the biggest quarter ever in terms of energy storage installations, but it could also be the biggest quarter of the year, according to the latest version of the U.S Energy Storage Monitor released by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Malware traced to Ukraine grid attacks could be used to target US grid

June 14 — Malware that was used in a 2015 cyberattack resulting in power outages in Ukraine could be modified by its Russian developers to target the United States, according to a new report from cybersecurity firm Dragos.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveUtility Dive: Will California’s 100% renewables goal survive the political process?

June 14 — The state’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are at 27.6% renewables and well on their way to meeting the present 50% renewables by 2030 mandate, according to the most recent California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) numbers.

— Utility Dive


Texas TribuneTexas Tribune: San Antonio pushes to lower emissions despite delayed regulations

June 13 — After the EPA announced that the implementation of new, stricter standards for ozone levels in the air will be delayed a year, the city of San Antonio is forging ahead with plans to reduce emissions.

— Texas Tribune


GTM: Building the ‘Solar Protection Factor’ Into an Increasingly Green-Powered Grid

June 12 — Utilities need to prepare for the rise of wind and solar power and the retirements of baseload power plants, and that includes building “solar protection factors” into their long-term planning.

— Greentech Media


energywire_finalEnergy Wire: Advocates go to court as Trump unwinds climate policy

June 13 — In a platter of pending challenges to fossil fuel development on public lands, environmentalists in the West see an opportunity to corner the Trump administration into taking a closer look at climate impacts.

— Energy Wire


HoustonPublicMediaHouston Public Media: Report Shows Progress Under Deregulated System

June 13 — Still, the consumer advocacy group Texas Coalition for Affordable Power has repeatedly documented more expensive electricity in places like Houston, where there are a lot of options.

— Houston Public Media


TexasClimateNewsAmericans give thumbs down to exiting Paris climate accord
June 8 — President Trump’s action was a big loser among Democrats and independents. But it scored well among Republicans, which led some analysts to suggest it might help shore up support among his most dedicated fans.

— Texas Climate News


UtilityDiveTexas PUC plans August workshop on generators’ market reform proposal

June 9 — Texas regulators are planning a technical workshop in August to examine possible changes to its energy marketplace in response to concerns over persistently-low prices.

— Utility Dive


Small businesses in clean energy sector still hope for bestAP LOGO

June 7 — Small business owners who install solar panels or help customers use clean energy don’t seem fazed by President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, saying they expect demand for their services will still keep growing.

— Associated Press


hillLawmakers push bill to target ‘super pollutants’

June 8 — A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a bill aiming to reduce pollutants with an out-sized impact on climate change.

— The Hill


Business leaders push back against Trump’s energy research cuts

June 8 — A group of business and energy industry leaders is pushing back against President Trump’s proposed cuts to federal energy research and development programs.
— The Hill


Senate committee advances Trump’s FERC nomineesUtilityDive

June 6 — A Senate committee today voted to advance four nominees President Trump has tapped serve in positions impacting energy policy, including filling vacant seats at the quorum-less Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

— Utility Dive


Bloomberg LogoIf Trump Gets His Way, the World May Not Know If U.S. Emissions Rise

June 7 — The president’s budget request to Congress would eliminate or gut core programs across the federal government that track the heat-trapping gases. If those cuts go ahead, the government may not be able to tell if emissions are rising or falling.

— Bloomberg


PlattsTexas PUC officially ends NextEra’s quest for Oncor
June 7 — The Public Utility Commission of Texas on Wednesday finalized its order denying a rehearing of NextEra Energy’s application to buy the state’s largest transmission company, Oncor Electric Delivery.

— Platts


Denton Record-ChronicleAtmos customers in Denton to get rate hike next month

May 30 — Denton is one of 56 cities in a coalition that negotiates with Atmos Energy over natural gas price increases every year. This year, Atmos requested the entire coalition pay $57.4 million more for gas than last year. The coalition’s attorney countered with $32.1 million, and the two parties settled on a $48 million increase this year.

— Denton Record-Chronicle


Bloomberg LogoTexas Rejects NextEra’s Second Attempt at Oncor Takeover

June 6 — Texas regulators rejected NextEra Energy Inc.’s $18 billion bid to buy the state’s largest transmission operator, Oncor Electric Delivery Co., for a second time.

— Bloomberg


DMN LogoTexas regulators shoot down NextEra’s $18.7 billion offer for Oncor again

June 7 — A new PUC order filed in the case corrected some small details in the original order but confirmed the rejection of the offer to purchase Oncor, which owns and operates power lines serving 3.4 million customers, including most of North Texas.

— Dallas Morning News


HoustonChronicleTexas wind power fights for dominance with coal, natural gas

June 7 — While most of Texas’ power still comes from coal and natural gas, in recent years those power plants are seeing unprecedented competition from wind power, according to a report released last week by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees 90 percent of Texas’ electricity grid.

— Houston Chronicle


BusinessWireOncor Cities Steering Committee: Legislation is Great News for Hikers, Bikers and Texas Taxpayers

May 30 — -In one of the last acts of the 85th Texas Legislature, lawmakers on Sunday gave the final go-ahead to House Bill 931 to help expand the state’s networks of hike-and-bike trails — but at virtually no cost for the underlying land.

— Business Wire


energywire_finalScott Pruitt and the truth about coal

June 6 — U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt walked back his claim that the coal sector had added “almost 50,000 jobs” since the fourth quarter yesterday. An EPA spokeswoman said Pruitt had been referring to the broader mining sector that includes other industries.

— Energy Wire


utilitydiveEIA: Power sector coal consumption drops to lowest point since 1984

June 5 — Power plants in the United States consumed 677 million short tons of coal last year, the smallest amount since 1984, according to new analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

— Utility Dive


MidlandReporterTelegramRRC’s Christian says climate science ‘isn’t settled’

The oil and gas industry often is cited as one culprit of climate change because the burning of hydrocarbons puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which studies show prevents heat from escaping through the atmosphere and warms the planet. The result is a melting of the polar ice caps, rising sea levels and harsher, less predictable weather.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram


ERCOT expects record energy demand this summer

June 2 — ERCOT, which controls the electric grid for most of Texas, estimates it will see a peak demand of 72,934 MW this summer, beating out a record set last August of 71,110 MW. However, officials say the grid has the capacity to handle up to 81,860 MW, meaning the demand shouldn’t affect consumers.

— KSAT ABC 12 News


austin_american_statesman1Christi Craddick: How revisions could make NAFTA even better for Texas

June 6 — When I think about the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations, I think about the origins of the Railroad Commission of Texas, which I have the honor of serving.

The Texas Legislature created the commission in 1891. Its charge was to oversee the state’s transportation industry, specifically railways.

— Austin American-Statesman


HoustonChronicleAtmos Energy hiked gas rates while over earning by millions

June 2 — In recent years, Dallas-based Atmos Energy has raised its gas utility rates while still earning millions more than a state cap allows.

— Houston Chronicle


UtilityDiveIs renewable energy threatening power reliability?

June 1 — Low and negative prices in wholesale power markets are the subject of intense scrutiny in the power sector today.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveSunrun enters Texas solar market with virtual net metering offer

June 2- Sunrun, one of the largest residential solar installers in the United States, announced yesterday it will begin operating in Texas through a partnership with Engie Resource’s retail company Think Energy.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveUtilities post-Paris: Uncertainty rules power sector as Trump shatters climate consensus

June 2 — If President Trump’s aim was to further isolate the United States, yesterday certainly did the trick.

The president’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord was lauded by American conservative activists and coal interests — and nearly no one else.

— Utility Dive


HoustonChronicleTrail advocates cheer bill that brings cities, utilities together

May 31 — It’s about to be easier for cities in Texas to develop hike and bike trails along utility corridors, though Houston’s experiment also shows it still takes a long time to get something built.

— Houston Chronicle


TexasClimateNewsStay or go? Texas Republicans offer competing advice on Paris climate pact

May 28 — A cursory Google search doesn’t reveal whether or not Donald Trump is a fan of “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” a durable 1982 hit by the British punk band The Clash.

— Texas Climate News


TexasClimateNewsPowerhouse investors tell Exxon (and Trump): Get serious about climate change

June 1 — As President Donald J. Trump played footsie with pulling out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement Wednesday morning, the head of the nation’s biggest oil company sent him a message from downtown Dallas: Don’t do it.

— Texas Climate News


HoustonChronicleCenterPoint wins rate hikes even as profits soar past state cap

May 31 — CenterPoint Energy’s gas utility last year earned profits that were hundreds of thousands of dollars above the cap set by state regulations. But that didn’t stop the company from asking for – and getting – higher rates to collect even more money from its Houston-area customers.

— Houston Chronicle


PlattsERCOT real-time power prices spike above $1,000/MWh

May 30 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint saw real-time prices jump to four-digit territory Tuesday as power demand rose above forecast levels and reserve capacity was expected to fall below acceptable levels.

— Platts


Gilmer MirrorCities Applaud Adoption of Hike and Bike Legislation

May 30 — As one of the last acts of the 85th Texas Legislature, lawmakers on Sunday gave their final go-ahead to House Bill 931 to help expand the state’s networks of hike-and-bike trails — but at virtually no cost for the underlying land.

— Gilmer Mirror


HoustonChronicleWomen dominate leadership at agency overseeing male-dominated oil industry

May 26 — As an adventurous kid growing up in Conroe, Kim Corley thought she’d become a pecan farmer, inspired by the trees in her parents’ yard. Then, she dreamed of working in construction, but her company of choice, Caterpillar, wouldn’t take her. Eventually, fresh out of college, she went from office to office in Houston, résumé in hand, dropping in to oil and gas companies and asking for a job.

– Houston Chronicle


PlattsERCOT real-time power prices spike above $1,000/MWh

May 30 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint saw real-time prices jump to four-digit territory Tuesday as power demand rose above forecast levels and reserve capacity was expected to fall below acceptable levels.

— Platts


LongView News JournalLongview approves Atmos rate hike

May 26 — Natural gas rates are rising 7 percent for Atmos Energy Corp. customers in Longview.

City Council members approved the increase by a 6-1 vote Thursday, after Longview and other cities negotiated Atmos down from an 8 percent increase it first proposed in March.

–Longview News Journal


hillInternet lobbying group is skeptical about new privacy bill

May 24 — The bill, which was put forth by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would require internet service providers and web companies such as Facebook and Google to get consumers’ permission before sharing their data with advertisers.

— The Hill


DMN LogoDallas agrees to smaller rate hike than Atmos wanted, setting up a likely showdown

May 24 — Atmos Energy had wanted the Dallas City Council to approve a $10.7 million rate hike. But in the end, the council agreed to give the city’s gas provider less than half of what it wanted, setting up a likely legal battle between Atmos and Dallas City Hall in Austin.

— Dallas Morning News


Report: Vistra Energy in talks to purchase fellow generator Dynegyutilitydive

May 22 — Independent power producer Vistra Energy is in the early stages of discussions to purchase generator Dynegy, the Wall Street Journal reports, an inter-regional merger that would create one of the largest power producers in the United States.

— Utility Dive


HoustonChronicleGov. Abbott signs bill reauthorizing the Railroad Commission

May 23 — On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1818, part of a state initiative to review and reauthorize agencies every 12 years. A committee of lawmakers, known as the Sunset Commission, oversees the review of each agency; the commission’s staff proposes suggestions for agency changes in its review. Last year, the Railroad Commission had its third Sunset review since 2010, after several attempts to change the agency failed to get through the legislature. House Bill 1818 reauthorizes the commission for another 12 years.

— Houston Chronicle


Odessa American

Power outage reported in West Odessa

May 24 — A distribution power line in West Odessa short circuited Wednesday and triggered a power outage that affected 2,300 customers in the area but power was restored by 9:30 p.m.

— Odessa-American


Texas TribuneWest Texas churches pray to Legislature for electricity rate relief

May 17 — Bruce Parsons, pastor of Champion Baptist Church, said he felt deflated when he delivered the church’s latest monthly electricity bill to his treasurer.

It came to nearly $800, an enormous sum for a 60-member congregation that rarely spends more than a handful of hours each week beneath the steeple of its building in Roscoe, about 50 miles west of Abilene.

— Texas Tribune


DallasNewsLogoTXU, Luminant owner building one of Texas’ largest solar plant

May 17 — Dallas-based Vistra Energy has purchased what would be the state’s second largest solar plant when it opens next year, the company announced Wednesday.

The 180-megawatt Upton 2 project could provide electricity to 27,700 homes during hot weather or nearly double that when demand is average.

— Dallas Morning News


DallasNewsLogoThese Texas startups want to take the confusion out of electricity shopping

May 17 – R.A. “Jake” Dyer, a policy analyst for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which advocates on behalf of cities and other governments, said his organization supports Power to Choose since it has a public mission. With these new services, he said, it’s difficult to “part the veil.”

–Dallas Morning News


HoustonChronicleUnder Trump, U.S. less attractive for renewable energy investment

May 17 — The Trump administration’s plans to dismantle the Clean Power Plan and its waffling on the Paris climate accords could push renewable energy investors away from the United States, according to a report released this week from the London-based accounting firm Ernst and Young.

— Houston Chronicle


GOP Sen. Grassley questions DOE baseload review in letter to Perry

May 18 — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a perennial supporter of wind energy, has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy questioning the methods and assumptions behind a review of the electric grid ordered last month.

— Utility Dive


DMN LogoDallas City Council members push back against proposed Atmos rate increase

May 15 — The Dallas City Council and Atmos Energy could be headed for a legal showdown over the gas company’s latest proposed fee hike.

After more than $18 million worth of rate increases since 2013, Atmos would like to get another $10.7 million from Dallas customers to help pay for its infrastructure improvements. But company reps told city officials they’d settle for $7.8 million, or roughly $2.46 more on the average customer’s monthly gas bill.

— Dallas Morning News


energywire_finalNew era beckons as Texas regulator exits

May 15 — Donna Nelson wraps up her time as a Texas utility regulator today, ending a tenure that spans more than eight years and signaling a new era for the state’s power sector.

— EnergyWire


Strange Bedfellows: City Council Foes Unite To Fight Atmos Over Rising Gas Costs

May 16 — Over the last four years, Atmos Energy, the company that provides natural gas to residents of the city of Dallas, has come to the city for more than $18 million in rate increases. On Monday they asked for another $7.8 million from the city, an amount they say represents a discount.

— Dallas Observer


voxBy 2020, every Chinese coal plant will be more efficient than every US coal plant

May 16 — President Trump and his administration have claimed that the Paris climate accord is a “bad deal” because it requires much more of the US than of China. This reflects an enduring conservative paranoia that the Chinese are getting one over on us.



US signs international declaration on climate change despite Trump’s past statements

May 11 — While President Trump has talked tough in the past about his skeptical views on climate change, his administration appears to be taking a more cautious approach to the issue on the world stage in the early days of his presidency.

ABC News


energywire_finalChange is in the air for independent power players

May 12 — U.S. independent power producers, no stranger to uncertainty, have entered a period that may bring dramatic change. This week offered the latest potential scenarios.

— Energy Wire


Energy Future Backs NextEra in Bid to Save Oncor Deal

May 12 — Energy Future Holdings Corp., under pressure to find a way to end a long and expensive stay in bankruptcy, is throwing its weight behind NextEra Energy Inc.’s bid to salvage its deal for the company’s transmissions business, Oncor.

— Dow Jones Newswires


UtilityDiveTrump to nominate Powelson, Chatterjee to FERC

May 9 — President Trump will nominate Robert Powelson, a member of the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission, and Neil Chatterjee, a longtime aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to seats on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

— Utility Dive


UtilityDiveRansomware rampage highlights cyberattack fears in power sector

May 15 — While U.S. utilities remained unscathed, major companies like Avangrid severed external communication ties with their international subsidiaries in an effort to ward off any infection from the malicious software, said to be developed originally by the United States National Security Agency.

— Utility Dive


UtilityDiveEIA: Natural gas, renewables squeeze nuclear capacity

May 15 — Nuclear capacity in the United States will decline over the next three decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, even accounting for plant closures currently on the books.

— Utility Dive



May 15 — The first priority was, of course, keeping everyone safe, as floodwaters got so high that city crews stationed a canoe to navigate one of the lower downtown streets earlier in May.

Reopening the riverboat casino came a close second in this Mississippi River town 25 miles north of St. Louis, between the confluence of the Illinois and Missouri rivers.

— ClimateWire


PlattsCalpine, NRG post report that seeks changes in ERCOT pricing, settlement rules

May 10 — Calpine and NRG Energy filed Wednesday a commissioned report with the Texas Public Utility Commission that recommends changes to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ pricing and settlement rules.

— Platts


Local leaders approve emissions pact for Tradinghouse power plant permit

May 10 — The power giant Luminant will limit the emissions of a smog-forming pollutant at its proposed gas plant at Tradinghouse Lake under a deal approved this week with local officials.

— Waco Tribune-Herald


Bloomberg LogoNextEra Gives Texas 14 Reasons to Revisit Oncor Takeover

May 9 — NextEra Energy Inc. has 14 reasons why Texas utility regulators came to the wrong conclusion when they rejected its $18.4 billion acquisition of Oncor Electric Delivery Co., the state’s biggest transmission operator.

— Bloomberg


ReutersNextEra asks Texas to reconsider bankrupt power company deal

May 8 — Florida utility company NextEra Energy Inc asked Texas regulators on Monday to reconsider a decision that threatens to kill its roughly $18 billion bid to acquire bankrupt Energy Future Holding Corp, the majority owner of Oncor, Texas’ largest power network.

— Reuters


Texas TribuneLegislature passes much-criticized bill reforming oil and gas regulatory agency

May 9 — A Democratic senator on Tuesday made a last-ditch effort to beef up a bill aimed at reforming and reauthorizing the state’s oil and gas regulatory agency — legislation environmental groups and watchdogs have decried as toothless.

— Texas Tribune


austin_american_statesman1Legislature says Texas Railroad Commission name doesn’t need changing

May 9 — The Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, will keep its name.

House Bill 1818, passed by the Texas Senate Tuesday and previously approved by the House, makes minor tweaks to the agency, as part of a process mandated by law to periodically review the operations of state agencies.

— Austin American-Statesman


DallasNewsLogoNextEra wants Texas regulators to reconsider its Oncor offer after ‘capricious’ rejection

May 9 — The Florida energy giant trying to buy Oncor — the state’s largest regulated utility — said Monday that Texas regulators violated a state law in rejecting the deal as not in the public’s interest.

— Dallas Morning News


utilitydiveTrump to nominate Powelson, Chatterjee to FERC

May 9 — President Trump will nominate Robert Powelson, a member of the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission, and Neil Chatterjee, a longtime aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to seats on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

— Utility Dive


Bloomberg LogoDon’t Hold Your Breath for Congress to Deal With Net Neutrality

May 4 — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to gut Obama-era net neutrality rules, but even he says the matter is best left to someone else: the lawmakers in Congress.

— Bloomberg


hillFCC chair: Net neutrality advocates misrepresenting the truth

May 5 — Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai says advocates of net neutrality are misrepresenting his plan to roll back the controversial Obama-era internet rules.

— The Hill



WSJLogoSEC Probes Solar Companies Over Disclosure of Customer Cancellations

May 3– Federal regulators are investigating whether solar-energy companies are masking how many customers they are losing, according to a person familiar with the matter.

— Wall Street Journal


nprInside The Debate Over Repealing Curbs On Methane Leaks

May 3 — A deadline is fast approaching for Republican lawmakers who want to undo an Obama-era regulation that aims to limit the emissions of methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — from energy production sites on public lands.

— National Public Radio


EPA chief Pruitt: Coal plants necessary to ensure grid reliabilityutilitydive

May 5 — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said coal-fired power plants are key to preserving electricity reliability in an appearance on the Fox Business network this week.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveAs utilities embrace DERs, pilot projects emerge as key element of compromise

May 4 — New survey results from over 600 electric utility professionals show that the power sector is embracing distributed energy resources (DERs) — but doing so in its characteristic tentative fashion.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveGreen designs: Corporate demand pushes new generation of utility green tariffs

May 4 — Utilities are rolling out more sophisticated green tariffs to satisfy corporate sustainability goals. Can they prevent key accounts from defecting to independent suppliers?

— Utility Dive


hillSenate Republicans introduce anti-net neutrality legislation
May 1 — Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill Monday to nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules.

“Few areas of our economy have been as dynamic and innovative as the internet,” Lee said in a statement. “But now this engine of growth is threatened by the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which would put federal bureaucrats in charge of engineering the Internet’s infrastructure.”

— The Hill


EXCLUSIVE: Agency responsible for US nukes is lax in fighting fraud, report says

May 1 — The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office issued the audit, requested by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., after high-profile incidents of fraud by the DOE’s contractors, including two at the Hanford Site nuclear reservation in Washington state.

— McClatchy News Service


new-york-times-logoTrump Administration’s Push for Gas Exports Faces Market Glut

May 1 — The Trump administration is moving to make the United States the world’s leading exporter of natural gas as a central component of both energy and trade policy.

— New York Times


hillPentagon wants offshore drilling ban maintained in eastern Gulf

May 2 — A.M. Kurta, the acting under secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, told a Florida lawmaker in a letter publicly released Monday that military training and related exercises in the eastern Gulf, which borders Florida, necessitate a continuation of Congress’s ban on drilling.

— The Hill


utilitydiveGenerators, analysts back CO2 price at FERC technical conference

May 3– Carbon pricing took center stage at the second and final day of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s technical conference on wholesale power markets on Tuesday, as stakeholders searched for ways to integrate state policies into the organized market construct.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveAnxiety common, consensus elusive over power market reforms at first day of FERC conference

May 2 — Anxiety was rife and consensus elusive during the first day of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s technical conference on state policies and wholesale market operations on Monday.

— Utility Dive


ReutersU.S. wind industry has biggest first-quarter installs in eight years

Texas, the country’s top state for wind power capacity, was the top location for wind installations in the first quarter, followed by Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Michigan.

— Reuters


Commissioner counterattacks at criticism of energy industry

May 2 — Elitist intellectuals are distorting the truth about the energy industry, Wayne Christian says, and it’s up to the leaders in oil, gas and coal to counter the falsehoods.

“We need to start educating,” the newly-elected Texas Railroad Commissioner told the men and women gathered at Kilgore College Tuesday for the eighth annual East Texas Energy Symposium.

— Kilgore News Herald


Microgrids could whet the big appetite for clean energy in Texas

May 2 — At present, while the average energy prices in the state are below the national average, the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power reported last summer that Texans in deregulated areas are actually paying more for electricity. Therefore greater transparency is needed: despite the state largely being energy independent, residential energy prices still largely remain high even when compared with other states in the West South Central and West North Central Regions. This is costing consumers nearly $25 billion in lost savings and proves Texas does not have an efficient electricity market.

— GreenBiz


Last-minute congressional budget compromise saves EPA, ARPA-E funding

May 1 — The bipartisan budget compromise reached by Congress over the weekend salvaged funding for both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and clean energy research done by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

— Utility Dive


EIA: Power sector sees decline in carbon intensity

May 2 — The industrial and power sectors produced the least amount of carbon dioxide per unit of primary energy consumed last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

— Utility Dive


Dallas Business JounralEnergy Future Holdings’ spinoff to move hundreds of workers from downtown Dallas

April 26 — Dallas-based Vistra Energy Corp. — which recently emerged from bankruptcy as a spin-off of Energy Future Holdings — plans to illuminate its company culture with a big real estate consolidation in Irving.

— Dallas Business Journal


Heights council renews franchise agreement with Oncor Electric for city service

April 28 — The Harker Heights City Council on Tuesday agreed to renew its franchise agreement with Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC.

This agreement allows Oncor to use existing and future streets, alleys, highways, public utility easements and public property in the city of Harker Heights.

— Harker Heights Herald


City improves utility payment capabilities

April 26 — A CCN is issued by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and gives a CCN holder the exclusive right to provide electric, retail water or sewer utility services to an identified geographic area.

City Manager Brad Stafford told council member that attorneys for the Texas Coalition of Cities for Utility Issues had reviewed the resolution.

— The Examiner of Navasota and Grimes County


utilitydiveNextEra will ask Texas regulators to reconsider rejection of Oncor acquisition

April 25 — NextEra Energy will continue to pursue its proposed acquisition of Oncor Electric, company officials said yesterday during a first quarter earnings conference call.

— Utility Dive


Railroad Commission rejects ranchers’ appeal to reconsider Hilcorp enhanced oil recovery project

April 25 — The Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulator, rejected on Tuesday an appeal from a Gulf Coast water conservation district to block several injection wells, which local cattle ranchers fear will pollute their groundwater supply.

— Houston Chronicle


NextEra will ask Texas regulators to reconsider rejection of Oncor acquisition

April 25 — The company’s bid for Oncor is the second failed attempt to purchase the utility out of the bankruptcy proceeding of its parent, Energy Future Holdings. Regulators rejected an acquisition proposal from real estate firm Hunt Consolidated last year, opening the door for NextEra.

— Utility Dive


Is grid defection still a threat to the utility business model?

April 18 — Grid defection has become a much discussed topic in the energy storage world. It has been the subject of academic papers, including a recent paper by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and another paper by researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology, that examined the economics of combining energy storage with rooftop solar panels.

— Utility Dive


Reporter’s notebook: Has electricity deregulation hit a wall?

April 22 — Last year the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which represents a coalition of more than 150 municipal governments across Texas, released a report showing that customers in deregulated regions in Texas paid about 15 percent more than customers in regulated regions like Austin and San Antonio.

— Houston Chronicle


Legislation Defends Against Unrestricted Utility Construction

April 24 — Imagine if an electric utility could build a substation wherever it wanted within a city — in the middle of a residential community, for instance, or on top of business property or in a busy downtown area. And your local municipality was powerless to stop it.

— TCCFUI.org


Legislation Bad News for City Budgets
April 18 — Bad news for cities, their taxpayers and a possible safety hazard — these are some of the bottom line concerns about two bills currently winding their way through the Texas Legislature.

— TCCFUI.org


Distressed-Debt Titans Take $1 Billion Hit From Texas Rebuff

April 21 — Another firm that suffered losses, Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, is doubling down on its bet, snapping up debt discarded by rivals to gain control of negotiations, the people said.

— Bloomberg


Report: Trump DOE hits brakes on new energy research funding

April 21 — Since President Donald Trump took office in January, funding opportunities out of the U.S. Department of Energy have slowed significantly compared to the previous administration, E&E News reports, with some offices issuing no new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) at all since the the new administration came to Washington.

— Utility Dive


Trump’s ‘credibility problem’ threatens to undermine DOE baseload power review

April 24 — When a Hawaiian judge struck down President Donald Trump’s travel ban for a second time last month, along with the decision was a simple acknowledgement: Everyone had been listening to the president’s campaign rhetoric.

— Utility Dive


This interactive map shows why renewables and natural gas are taking over the US

April 21 — Playing around with the map, you can see why natural gas and renewables are likely to provide much of America’s new electric capacity going forward. It also shows why, despite Trump’s promises, it will be extremely difficult to build new US coal plants anytime soon. And you can explore the effects a carbon tax might have on America’s grid — or, say, the development of much cheaper nuclear reactors.

— Vox


Texas TribuneTexas Public Utility Commission Chairman Nelson to retire

April 13 — Donna Nelson, who has sat on the three-member commission since 2008 and chaired it since 2011, announced her retirement Thursday at an open meeting. She said May 15 will be her final day on the commission, which oversees electric, telecommunication and water and sewer utilities across Texas.

— Texas Tribune


Bloomberg LogoPUC rejects sale of Oncor Electric to NextEra Energy

April 13 — Texas regulators rejected the proposed $18.4 billion sale of Oncor Electric Delivery to NextEra Energy on Thursday, leaving the Dallas utility that maintains power lines in North Texas in bankruptcy.

— Bloomberg


DMN LogoWho needs owners anyway? Apparently, not Texas energy giant Oncor Electric

April 14 — It benefits from being in a regulated industry. While falling commodity prices walloped power generators, Oncor was fine. Many consumers don’t realize how much transmission and distribution charges have increased, because low natural gas prices reduced the competitive part of their electric bill.

— Dallas Morning News


CenterPoint to raise gas prices for 1 million-plus customers

April 7 – CenterPoint Energy will raise prices for more than 1 million natural gas customers in Houston and several other Gulf Coast cities under a deal announced Friday.

— Houston Chronicle


Texas now has earthquake sensors. But will anyone be watching them?

April 10 — Two years ago, the state Legislature sent $4.5 million to the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Houston at Austin to start the program. Legislators, scientists and the oil and gas industry were all concerned with a boost in the number of earthquakes in Texas. Research suggested the quakes were tied to oil and gas wastewater disposal. But industry leaders and Texas Railroad Commissioners, who regulate drilling, said they saw no causal relationship and wanted more data.

— Houston Chronicle
CenterPoint Energy asks to raise electricity distribution rates

April 7 — CenterPoint Energy is asking for a rate increase that would go into effect by Sept. 1 if it is approved, the company said.

CenterPoint’s electric transmission and distribution business, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, filed an application for distribution cost recovery factor with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the cities in its service area, the company announced Thursday in a news release.



A beginner’s guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy

April 4 — The most important political division in the world of climate change is between those who accept the urgency of the problem and those who don’t. Those who don’t are in charge of the federal government these days. Their energy plans are a celebration of fossil fuels.

— Vox


Rules on fund-raising are vital for the state commission that regulates oil and gas.

April 5 — The fact that our railroad commissioners are essentially on the payroll of the oil and gas industry is bad enough, but it’s just the most glaring symptom of this powerful agency’s inherent conflict of interest problem. The commission serves as both chief regulator and cheerleader for our state’s energy industry.

— Houston Chronicle


Energy agency’s technology is in a time warp

April 5– Texas is one of the world’s leading producers of oil and gas, but its industry regulator lags behind other states when it comes to organizing and making easily available decades of data the agency collects from the industry. All this information is trapped in a patchwork system that includes everything from a mainframe computer to cloud computing, the internet-based system in which data is stored and software shared from remote servers.

— Houston Chronicle


Oncor seeks approval in Texas for nearly $317 million rate increase

April 4 — Oncor Electric Delivery Co. in March told the Public Utility Commission of Texas that to allow the company to recover its reasonable cost of service and provide an opportunity for it to earn a reasonable return, Oncor’s total cost of service should be adjusted by about $317 million over rates currently in place, or about 7.5 percent over present revenues.

— Electric Light & Power


Houston energy co. plans to boost electric infrastructure serving Texas petrochemical industry

April 4 — CenterPoint Energy has submitted a proposal to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to spend $250 million on electric transmission infrastructure projects to feed growing power demands in the Gulf Coast town south of Houston, according to a release. The company offers electric transmission, natural gas distribution and energy services operations to multiple states around the U.S.

— Houston Business Journal


Wind surge in ERCOT prompts PUC ‘concern’ about non-market uplift

April 4 — Hearing about the continuing surge of wind generation in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a state regulator on Tuesday expressed “concern” about too many out-of-market actions to ensure local reliability threatened by a sudden drop in wind output.

— Platts


Straus staves off transgender amendment effort on oil and gas bill

March 28 — Flexing his parliamentary muscle and flashing his antipathy to efforts to regulate the use of bathrooms by transgender people, House Speaker Joe Straus prevented amendments on the matter from reaching the House floor on Tuesday.

— Austin American-Statesman


$2B plan aims to put ‘noise’ aside and link Texas, Southeast

March 30 — David Parquet’s business card says he works in San Francisco, but the senior vice president at Pattern Energy Group LP has been spending a lot of time in Texas.

— Energy Wire


The only certainty in Trump’s climate orders? More lawsuits

March 30 — President Trump this week signed an executive order that begins rolling back the climate actions taken by his predecessor. Making good on promises to cut regulations and restrictions on energy production, Trump told coal miners on stage with him, “you’re going back to work.”

— Utility Dive


Cities and states tackle clean energy, climate after Trump halts environmental action

March 30 — The White House has taken several steps to roll back Obama-era climate and environmental regulations, but state and municipal-level efforts will continue.

–Utility Dive


Environmentalists, Energy Industry, Press for Better Texas Railroad Commission Database

March 23 — When Texas lawmakers vote next week, as expected, to reauthorize the Railroad Commission for another 12 years, public interest groups seeking transparency seem likely to find the legislation inadequate.

— Texas Lawyer


Environmentalists, Energy Industry, Press for Better Texas Railroad Commission Database

March 23 — When Texas lawmakers vote next week, as expected, to reauthorize the Railroad Commission for another 12 years, public interest groups seeking transparency seem likely to find the legislation inadequate.

— Texas Lawyer


Ex-V&E Partner in Limbo, Awaiting Trump’s Nod for Regulatory Post

March 22 — On his Facebook page, Barry Smitherman, the former Texas Railroad Commissioner who recently left Houston’s Vinson & Elkins, posted a photograph of himself and President Donald Trump.

— Texas Lawyer


Railroad Commission fines company for not cleaning up oil, wastewater spills

March 23 — The Railroad Commission of Texas fined a Dallas-based oil and gas company more than $100,000 on Tuesday after inspectors found that several spills of oil and toxic water had not been cleaned up after nearly two years.

— Houston Chronicle


The new Oncor is going after a new target: homeowners with solar panels

March 24 — The state’s largest regulated utility wants to add a monthly minimum charge for homeowners who have solar panels, wind turbines and storage batteries. That covers about 10,000 customers in the Oncor service area, which includes North Texas.

— Dallas Morning News


energy-choice-mattersOncor Seeking To More Than Double Monthly Fixed Charge

March 20 — In a rate case filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, Oncor is seeking to more than double the monthly fixed charged applicable to residential service, which is charged to retail electric providers serving residential customers.

— Energy Choice Matters


energy-choice-mattersOncor Proposes Minimum Charge For Residential Customers With Distributed Energy Resources

March 20 — In a new rate case, Oncor is proposing that residential customers with distributed energy resources (DER) with a capacity of three kW or greater be placed on a new rate class that includes a minimum charge.

— Energy Choice Matters


utilitydiveFederal agencies brace for Trump climate orders, budget numbers

March 15 — Actions anticipated from President Trump this week could set in motion major federal energy policy changes aimed at rolling back Obama-era climate programs and scaling back the size of key agencies.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveIs 100% renewable energy the best goal to cut power sector emissions?

March 20 — President Trump is expected this week to issue an executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, part of a slate of actions designed to undo former President Obama’s climate and energy initiatives. That sentiment, however, has not stopped researchers from contending with the realities of climate change and how to prevent it.

— Utility Dive


DMN LogoWatchdog: Delete the word ‘public’ from Public Utility Commission

March 17– Forevermore, I will no longer call the Public Utility Commission by that name. From now on, it’s the UC, not the PUC. These bureaucrats in Austin, as well-intentioned as they believe they are, completely bailed on helping the public.

Dallas Morning News


FERC’s quorum problem opens new lines of attack

March 14 — Federal regulators last month rushed to issue environmental decisions on major pipeline projects before their agency fell into a legal limbo, but their hustle has opened those projects to charges that they have not been fully vetted.

— Energy Wire


Federal agencies brace for Trump climate orders, budget numbers

March 15 — Actions anticipated from President Trump this week could set in motion major federal energy policy changes aimed at rolling back Obama-era climate programs and scaling back the size of key agencies.

— Utility Dive


Trump’s Defense secretary calls climate change a national security risk

March 14 — President Trump’s Defense secretary, James Mattis, believes climate change is a national security threat, according to congressional testimony highlighted by ProPublica on Tuesday.

— The Hill


Tillerson used email alias at Exxon to talk climate: New York attorney general

March 14 — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp, used an alias email address while at the oil company to send and receive information related to climate change and other matters, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

— Reuters


Arlington rep requests closer hearing for disposal well

March 14 — A state representative for Arlington is asking the Railroad Commission to schedule a public hearing closer to the location of a proposed disposal well.

— Arlington Voice


As Oil and Gas Activity Declined in Texas Last Year, So Did Earthquakes

March 2 — The risk of damaging manmade earthquakes striking the Dallas-Fort Worth area is substantially lower than it was last year, according to a new earthquake hazard map released this week by the U.S. Geological Survey.

— KUT 90.5 FM


HoustonChronicleFinding places for seismometers in a land of oil and gas

March 2 — The state of Texas wants to stick a seismometer on Terry Hill’s ranch, right next to his deer blind.

Houston Chronicle


White House proposes steep budget cut to leading climate science agencythe-washington-post-logo

March 3 — The Trump administration is seeking to slash the budget of one of the government’s premier climate science agencies by 17 percent, delivering steep cuts to research funding and satellite programs, according to a four-page budget memo obtained by The Washington Post.

— Washington Post



WSJLogoEPA Withdraws Obama-Era Requirement for Companies to Provide Methane Data

March 3 —The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it is withdrawing an Obama-era request that oil and natural gas companies provide information on methane emissions at their operations.

— Wall Street Journal


Mayors Offer Ideas for Including Broadband in Trump Infrastructure Investment Plans

March 2 — Mayors and other elected community leaders representing 62 cities and counties sent a this week to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) emphasizing the importance of broadband in Trump infrastructure investment plans, which were part of the president’s campaign agenda.

— Telecompetitor


Residents Fight to Stop Oil Company From Drilling Wastewater Injection Well Near Lake Arlington

March 7 — People in Arlington are fighting to keep an oil and gas company’s plans out of their city.

Blue Stone Resources filed an application with the Texas Railroad Commission for a permit to dig a wastewater injection well near Lake Arlington.

— NBCDFW.com


utilitydiveReports: White House could shutter EPA’s Energy Star program

March 7 — Among a slew of anticipated changes to energy policy and environmental initiatives, E&E News reports the Trump Administration will move to “close out” the popular Energy Star program, a voluntary labeling initiative for manufacturers of efficient appliances that is maintained through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Utility Dive


utilitydiveFERC plans technical conference on state generation supports in wholesale markets

March 7 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will hold a technical conference May 1-2 to discuss how state support for certain generation resources affects wholesale power markets in the eastern United States.

Utility Dive


FERC to Discuss Wholesale Energy and Capacity Markets

March 7 — On 3/3/17, FERC announced that it will convene a technical conference on wholesale energy and capacity markets. The conference plans to discuss certain matters affecting such markets, as “operated by the Eastern Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs), and will take place on May 1, 2017 and May 2, 2017.

Texas Electric News


Waze and other traffic dodging apps prompt cities to game the algorithms

March 6 — Call it planners versus algorithms.

Smartphone apps like Waze, a godsend for some road warriors because they shave minutes and even hours off their commutes with their creative detours off main highways, are causing headaches for city planners.

— USA Today


wfaa Logo911 issues at DPD are getting worse

March 7 — A bank robbery in progress usually brings a quick police response, but not if the callers can’t even get through to 911 and are being placed on hold.



hillDems push Trump to keep Obama-era car emissions standards

March 7 — The 12 Democrats, led by Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.), sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt on Tuesday, days after the New York Times and other outlets reported that Pruitt will act as soon as this week to start weakening the greenhouse gas emissions standards.

— The Hill


hillGOP chairman seeks $50M to transfer federal land

March 6 — The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee is asking budget writers to set aside $50 million to account for the costs to transfer federal land to state or local governments.

— The Hill


Christi Craddick: An energetic outlook for Texas

March 6 — As the newly selected Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, the state regulatory body for the nation’s largest energy sector, I see signs for optimism among energy producers as we progress through 2017.

Corpus Christi Caller-Times


RTOInsiderERCOT Sees Adequate Capacity for Spring, Summer

March 5 — ERCOT’s latest seasonal assessment of resource adequacy (SARA) indicates ample generation for spring, with more than 82 GW of generation for an expected peak demand of 58 GW.

— RTO Insider


Texas TribuneYears after well explosion, Texas family still waiting for answers from agency

March 6 — A North Texas family is still waiting for answers about whether nearby gas production caused their water well to explode and why Railroad Commission seemed to miss early signs that something like this could happen in their community.

— Texas Tribune


Dave Lieber: Are you overpaying for electricity? Probably

March 4 — That idea is supported by hundreds of Texans who at my urging complained to the PUC, and by pro-consumer groups such as Texas ROSE (Ratepayers’ Organization to Save Energy) and Texas Coalition for Affordable Power. The Dallas Morning News editorial board also voiced support a year ago.

— Denton Record-Chronicle


Star-Telegram LogoHow to get incentives to help pay for solar panels or insulation

March 3 –Incentive programs to help area homeowners pay for everything from installing solar panels and smart thermostats to caulking leaky windows or adding attic insulation are on again this spring.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram


utilitydiveNRG CEO: Independent power producer model ‘obsolete’

March 1 — NRG Energy lost almost $900 million last year, the result of lower power and gas prices along with a hefty “goodwill impairment charge.”

Utility Dive


Texas TribuneExpect fewer man-made earthquakes in Texas, federal agency says

March 1 — The odds that a man-made earthquake will hit Texas this year have plummeted, according to new risk projections from the U.S. Geological Survey that are based on the amount of seismic activity that’s occurred here in the past few years.

Texas Tribune


Arlington prepares fight against proposed disposal well

March 2 — A proposed wastewater disposal well in Fort Worth that would be on the western outskirts of Lake Arlington is strongly opposed by the Arlington City Council and several residents.

Arlington Voice


Oil/gas well to be drilled off Texoma Parkway

March 1 — The Sherman Planning & Zoning Commission recently unanimously approved a site plan and specific use permit for the well, which will be located at 1220 E. Peyton St., between Loy Lake Road and Texoma Parkway. Roff Operating Co., which owns the property, expects to begin drilling the well in the next several months.

The Sherman-Denison Herald Democrat


PlattsERCOT to have enough power this spring, summer: reports

March 1 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects to have sufficient capacity to cover peakload this spring and summer, under most expected demand and generation scenarios, according to reports released Wednesday.



ERCOT expects a hot spring and enough power to keep Texas coolHoustonChronicle

March 1 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees 90 percent of Texas’ power grid, expects to have more than enough power to get Texans through the spring and summer, despite a trend in warmer-than-average temperatures.

Houston Chronicle


utilitydiveAnalysis: Clean Power Plan repeal could cost $600B, result in 120,000 premature deaths

Feb. 28 — Repealing the Clean Power Plan would have significant impacts on the United States’ economy and the health of its citizens, according to new analysis from Energy Innovation, a clean energy think tank.

Utility Dive


Bloomberg LogoTrump’s EPA Budget Cuts May Unleash a Backlash as Risks Remain

Feb. 27 — President Donald Trump’s plan to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s $8.3 billion budget would almost certainly mean making deep cuts to programs that protect the air and water and invoke fierce protests from environmentalists.



hillTrump moves toward repealing Obama EPA water rule

Jan. 28 — President Trump will order the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday to formally review former President Obama’s Clean Water Rule, kicking off the process of eliminating or significantly changing the rule.

The Hill


PUCT receives deadline extension to decide on whether to dismiss water contract case

Feb. 27 — The Public Utility Commission of Texas on Feb. 24 requested more time to respond to the North Texas Municipal Water District’s motion to dismiss a petition requesting the PUCT to review the district’s water contract with its member cities.

Community Impact Newspaper


DMN LogoIf NextEra buys Oncor, what’s in it for the rest of us?

Feb. 21 — NextEra Energy is paying so much for Oncor Electric Delivery Co. that there may not be much upside for the rest of us.

That’s one criticism of the proposed $18.7 billion acquisition of Dallas-based Oncor, the state’s largest regulated utility. When big utilities change hands, ratepayers often get some relief, even though such sweeteners are not required.

— Dallas Morning News


energy-choice-mattersTexas Bills Would Terminate Authority For General Land Office To Sell Retail Power

Feb. 21 — Two identical bills filed with the Texas legislature (HB 1685 / SB 736) would terminate the statutory grant of authority that currently allows the Texas General Land Office (GLO) to sell power to public retail customers.

— Energy Choice Matters



Texas Bill Would Make Unauthorized Switch in Retail Electric Provider A Criminal Offense

Feb. 21 — HB 1475 has been filed with the Texas legislature which would make the unauthorized initiation of service with a different retail electric provider a criminal offense

— Energy Choice Matters


HoustonChronicleStartup aims to add more power to choosing electric plans

Feb. 18 — The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a consumer advocacy group, supports Powertochoose.org because it is backed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which can respond to customers complaints and fine companies that violate state regulations, said Jake Dyer, a spokesman.
— Houston Chronicle


Bankruptcy judge approves sale of Oncor utility to NextEra

Feb. 17 — Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings is one step closer to ending one of the biggest U.S. energy bankruptcies after a judge approved a plan to sell its Oncor power transmission unit to NextEra Energy.

Steven Church/Bloomberg


DMN LogoWho calls the shots if the country’s biggest power company scoops up Texas’ biggest utility?

Feb. 17 — An effective ring-fence is one potential offset. It’s a form of insurance, said Geoffrey Gay, who represents cities in utility cases. It may not seem necessary, given NextEra’s current strength, but the PUC has to look ahead.
— Dallas Morning News


utilitydiveTres Amigas truncates transmission tie

Feb. 17 — Tres Amigas LLC has downsized a proposed $1.6 billion transmission link, and now says a smaller version of the project will include a 200 MW transmission link as opposed to 750 MW. The pricetag has fallen to $200 million.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveEIA: Without Clean Power Plan, coal will regain top spot in generation mix

Feb. 15 — Coal-fired power is expected to regain its place at the top of the U.S. generation mix in 2019 if the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan is repealed, the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted Tuesday.

— Utility Dive
Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor

Feb. 11 — Indiana’s energy utilities want state lawmakers to pass a law that critics say would muscle out smaller companies from the emerging solar energy market.

Feb. 11 — Solar power provides only about 1 percent of the country’s energy, but it is growing rapidly, with U.S. Energy Department figures showing solar industry employment grew 125 percent since 2010.

— Associated Press


Star-Telegram LogoHow long will Arlington’s water smell and taste bad?

Feb. 16 — An overwhelming algae invasion has left the city’s water smelling and tasting bad, and the problem may not be fixed for another couple of weeks.

City officials say they expect the dirty taste and fragrance that appeared a week ago to disappear by the end of the month, when a water treatment plant that has been closed for upgrades goes back on line.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram


hillTrump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule

Feb. 16 — President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

— The Hill


FCC Chair: We’ll Take Appropriate Action if AT&T-Time Warner Deal Stifles Competition

Feb. 16 — Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai is paying close attention to the proposed $85 billion merger between AT&T (T) and Time Warner (TWX). During an interview on the FOX Business Network, he said the deal must benefit consumers.

— Fox Business


HoustonChronicleRailroad Commission fines company for disposing of contaminated water without a permit

Feb. 15 — The Railroad Commission of Texas fined an oil and gas wastewater management company for disposing of contaminated water without a permit, and releasing toxic chemicals in fresh water on a piece of property in West Texas.

— Houston Chronicle


KRISTVCity won’t renew Red Light Cameras contract
Feb. 14 — he Corpus Christi City Council has decided not to renew the city’s red light cameras program.

Police Chief Mike Markle held a presentation for the council this afternoon. He said the cameras were introduced in 2007, in an effort to reduce accidents. According to the department’s data, it doesn’t show a drastic change in the number of crashes.



utilitydiveFormer Texas regulator Barry Smitherman joins NRG board

Feb. 16 — NRG Energy announced several changes to its board of directors, the result of agreements with Elliott Associates LP and Bluescape Energy Partners LLC, two investment firms owning a combined 9.4% of the company.

— Utility Dive


San Antonio Express NewsJPGA Railroad Commission that doesn’t regulate railroads

Feb. 15 — In its recent report to the Texas Legislature, the Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended keeping the Railroad Commission of Texas’ name for the next 12 years.
— San Antonio Express-News


utilitydiveResidential storage can undercut benefits of rooftop solar, says new study

Feb. 14 — The growing rooftop solar market has often been mentioned as potential market for energy storage, but a recently published paper in Nature Energy disputes that claim.

— Utility Dive


BLoombergToshiba’s Nuclear Reactor Mess Winds Back to a Louisiana Swamp

Feb. 12 — If you want to understand why Toshiba Corp. is about to report a multi-billion dollar write-down on its nuclear reactor business, the story begins and ends with a one-time pipe manufacturer with roots in the swamp country of Louisiana.

— Bloomberg


the-washington-post-logoPolicymakers alone cannot stop those pesky robocalls

Feb. 8 — Have you ever answered your phone only to hear an ominous message about the “IRS” demanding money, warnings from “Microsoft” that your computer needs immediate repairs or from “Rachel from card member services” offering a lower interest rate on an unnamed “credit card account”?

— Washington Post


Longview City Council votes to review utility company’s rate increase of 17%

Feb. 9 — Thursday night, an East Texas council decided to intervene in a utility companies rate increase application.

In Longview, city leaders sat the proposed increase from Atmos Pipeline Texas would cause Atmos Energy customer’s bills to go up.



vox2 remarkable facts that illustrate solar power’s declining cost

Feb. 3 — Two remarkable facts, drawn from two recent analyses, serve to illustrate the point in dramatic fashion — not “world’s cheapest” dramatic, but pretty dramatic.

— Vox




As oil prices dip, Railroad Commission sees cash crunch

Feb. 9 — In the latest sign of how the oil and gas downturn is affecting state coffers, the chairwoman of the agency charged with regulating the industry — and which gets the majority of its money from fees associated with oil and gas exploration — told lawmakers on Thursday state health and safety could be at risk without an influx of cash.

— Austin American-Statesman


HoustonChronicleEnergy agency pleads for more funding

Feb. 9 — Funding for the Railroad Commission is not sufficient for the agency to do its job regulating the state’s oil and gas industry and protecting public health and safety, the commission’s chairwoman told a legislative committee Thursday.

–Houston Chronicle


utilitydiveFERC lifts restrictions in federal, state demand response markets

Feb. 10 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order last week lifting restrictions on demand response resources participating in both state and federal programs, freeing up more resources to help manage the grid during times of high demand.

— Utility Dive


utilitydiveEEI promises collaboration with Trump administration on energy, tax policy
Feb. 10 — Officials from the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group for investor-owned utilities, met this week with Wall Street representatives, touting more than $100 billion annually in investment and vowing to work with the new Trump administration on energy and tax policy.

— Utility Dive


DMN LogoFrom DP&L to Vistra Energy, D-FW’s most powerful electric provider gets a fresh start

Feb. 4 — The region’s top electric company has had many names — and business strategies: Dallas Power & Light, Texas Utilities, TXU Corp., Energy Future Holdings and now Vistra Energy Corp.
— Dallas Morning News


utilitydiveTrump appoints Kristine Svinicki as chair of Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Jan. 30 — U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioner Kristine Svinicki has been appointed chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by President Donald Trump.

— Utility Dive.


Former Railroad Commissioner David Porter joins board of Swan Energy

Jan. 31 — Former Railroad Commissioner David Porter has joined the board of directors of Houston-based Swan Energy, an oil and gas production company operating in Colorado and Oklahoma. Porter will also serve as principal of Houston’s Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse, which markets and sells oil and gas properties, according to a news release from both companies.

— Houston Chronicle


Railroad commissioners lobby Texas lawmakers ahead of budget hearing

Jan. 31 — Texas Railroad commissioners have been meeting with state lawmakers and oil and gas officials in recent days trying to drum up support for changes that would better fund the agency responsible for overseeing the energy industry.

— Dallas Business Journal


Railroad Commission moves to cut regulations on oil, gas firms
Texas was the nation’s top electricity user in 2015

Jan. 30 — Texas used the most electricity of any state in 2015, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Energy on Friday.

The state used nearly 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity that year, and led the nation for most electricity use in homes, commercial buildings and industrial properties. California and Florida came in second and third in terms of electricity use, but each use more than 100 million kilowatt less than Texas.

— Houston Chronicle


energywire_finalInside the Trump administration’s power struggle over CO2 regs

Jan. 31 — Transition officials debated internally about whether the Trump administration should seek a major reversal of U.S. EPA’s core authority to regulate greenhouse gases, and it continues today, according to sources.

— Energy Wire


voxWant to reduce the energy used by buildings? Make cities denser.

Jan. 26 — For many years, urbanists have been singing the praises of urban density. Done well, density can increase economic output, increase per capita productivity, increase disposable income (by reducing heating, cooling, and transportation costs), and improve physical and mental health.

— Vox


hillTrump will ‘definitely’ pull out of Paris climate deal, ex-aide says

Jan. 30 — President Trump will “definitely” pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, with some action possible within days, according to a former top aide.

Myron Ebell, who led Trump’s transition efforts for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told reporters in London Monday that the president would stick to his campaign promises, including to stopping the country’s participation in the Paris accord.

— The Hill


HoustonChronicleBarry Smitherman, former Railroad commissioner, leaves Vinson & Elkins law firm

Jan. 23 — Energy lawyer and former energy regulator Barry Smitherman resigned his partnership at Vinson & Elkins on Friday.

Smitherman, who joined the firm less than two years ago and practiced out of the firm’s Austin office, left Vinson & Elkins to “pursue other career opportunities and interests,” according to a statement from the firm. Vinson & Elkins did not say what specific opportunities Smitherman plans to pursue.

— Houston Chronicle


utilitydive10 trends shaping the electric utility industry in 2017

If there’s one hallmark of the power sector at the beginning of 2017, it’s uncertainty.

At the time of our last trend forecast list in September 2015, the utility industry was already being disrupted: Customer demand for distributed resources and the push for cleaner electricity were reshaping centralized fossil fuel-based grids across the country to accommodate variable renewables and customer-sited resources.

— Utility Dive


DMN LogoHow energy efficiency could add power to the Texas economy

Jan. 23 — Texas is already the nation’s capital when it comes to producing oil and gas, as well as wind power. But what if the Lone Star State could lead the country in saving energy, too?

Lawmakers during this legislative session should seize on energy efficiency as a win-win-win path, creating local jobs while helping Texans save money and water, and reducing electricity waste and pollution..

— Dallas Morning News


DMN LogoTexas’ biggest power company is slashing costs: ‘We know what got us into trouble’

Jan. 20 – The housing bust and financial crisis almost feel like old memories, because most homeowners and investors have more than recovered their lost ground. Not so in the power industry.

— Dallas Morning News


Texas TribuneHouse, Senate disagree on how to fund the state’s oil and gas regulator

Jan. 19 — Texas House and Senate leaders unveiled dueling budget proposals last week that are billions of dollars apart. A tiny, if notable, fraction of the discrepancy: how each chamber suggests funding the cash-strapped state agency that oversees the powerful oil and gas industry.

— Texas Tribune


Star-Telegram LogoBudget plans aren’t clear for oil and gas regulation

Jan. 20 — Natural gas drilling and production in the Barnett Shale formation in and around Tarrant County isn’t booming like it was a few years ago, but people in this part of the state should still take a keen interest in how Texas regulates that activity.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram


HoustonChronicleTwo shareholders make a bid to redirect NRG Energy

Jan. 19 — Two shareholders of Houston-based NRG Energy have teamed to buy a greater share of the company in a bid to get a seat on NRG’s board of directors.

Elliott Associates, a hedge fund, and Dallas-based Bluescape Energy Partners have said that NRG’s stock is “deeply undervalued,” and want to push for operational and financial changes at NRG, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

— Houston Chronicle


utilitydiveTrump White House hits pause on Obama efficiency standards

Jan. 23 — The White House has put a hold on finalizing all new regulations until President Trump’s administration has agency leaders in place to approve the actions.

–Utility Dive


voxTrump has replaced the White House climate change page with… a pledge to drill lots of oil

As soon as Donald Trump was sworn in as president, the official White House website — WhiteHouse.gov — got a speedy makeover to reflect the change in administration, as had long been planned.

— Vox


utilitydiveWhat will Trump’s EPA do? Scott Pruitt hearing offered few answers

Jan. 19 — If one thing’s clear from Donald Trump’s EPA nominee’s confirmation hearing yesterday, it’s that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) wants to fundamentally reshape the agency’s regulatory authority and relationship with the states.

What’s less clear is what that regulatory regime would actually look like.

Trump’s pick to lead the nation’s environmental regulatory agency has sued the federal EPA 14 times in his time as Oklahoma’s top lawyer, challenging agency on a raft of power sector regulations from the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to the Cross State Air Pollution Rule and the Clean Power Plan.

— Utility Dive


new-york-times-logo‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood

Jan. 18 — Mr. Perry, who once called for the elimination of the Energy Department, will begin the confirmation process Thursday with a hearing before the Senate Energy Committee. If approved by the Senate, he will take over from a secretary, Ernest J. Moniz, who was chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics department and directed the linear accelerator at M.I.T.’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science.

— The New York Times


energy-choice-mattersTexas PUC Staff: NextEra Acquisition of Oncor “Not In Public Interest” Absent Substantive Changes

Jan. 19 — Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have filed testimony stating that NextEra Energy’s proposed acquisition of Oncor is, “not in the public interest without making substantive changes and additions to the applicants’ proposed commitments,” as Staff cited concerns regarding the risks from NextEra’s non-regulated businesses as well as the large amount of debt NextEra proposes to use to fund the transaction.

— Energy Choice Matters


MultiChannelNewsExclusive: Trump Team Embraces FCC Remake Blueprint

Jan. 15 — The incoming Donald Trump Administration is said to have signed off on an approach to remaking the Federal Communications Commission offered by the FCC transition team majority, one that squares with the deregulatory philosophies of FCC Republicans Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, who will be two of the three Republican votes on the commission, and one of them possibly the chair.

— Multichannel News


voxRex Tillerson wants a “seat at the table” for global climate talks

Jan. 13 — At this point, we still don’t know exactly what the Trump administration plans to do about the Paris climate accord — the core international treaty for dealing with global warming.

— Vox


energy-choice-mattersTexas PUC Calls Substantial Alternative Rate-making Changes “Premature”

Jan. 16 — “At this time, the Commission does not believe that ratemaking mechanisms for transmission and distribution utilities that operate within ERCOT are in need of major revision. In fact, the Commission believes that existing streamlined methods of recovery are generally achieving their intended purposes,” the PUCT’s final report says.

— Energy Choice Matters


ReutersElliott teams with ex-TXU CEO for NRG Energy shake-up

Jan. 17 — Elliott Management and private equity firm Bluescape Energy Partners have teamed up to buy a 9.4 percent stake in NRG Energy and said they may push to elect one or more directors to its board.

Elliott and Bluescape, which was founded by ex-TXU Corp. CEO John Wilder, said in a filing that NRG’s shares were “deeply undervalued.” The investors are seeking operational and financial improvements as well as the consideration of strategic initiatives at the company.

— Reuters


TexasObserverFacing Tougher Pollution Regulations, Texas Coal Plants Want Old EPA Rule Back

Jan. 11 — Texas’ latest attempt to dodge federal pollution regulations appears to have backfired, as the Environmental Protection Agency is now pushing more stringent regulations on the state’s coal plants. Unsurprisingly, utility companies aren’t happy.

— Texas Observer


ReutersU.S. lists 17 nuclear reactors with parts from forge under probe

Jan. 10 — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Tuesday unveiled a letter showing that 17 of the country’s nuclear reactors have parts from Areva SA’s Le Creusot forge in France, which is under investigation for allegedly falsifying documents on the quality of its parts.

The number of reactors was more than the nine the NRC had previously disclosed.

— Reuters


Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Common Carrier Test re: Transportation Agreements

Jan.11 — On January 6, 2017, The Texas Supreme Court held in Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, LLC v. Texas Rice Land Partners, Ltd. that evidence establishing a reasonable probability that a pipeline will, at some point after construction, serve even one customer unaffiliated with the pipeline owner is sufficient to qualify Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas LLC as a common carrier as a matter of law.

— National Law Review


Senator files bills on water rights

Jan. 10 — Lawmakers in the 85th Legislative session that began Tuesday will continue to try to expedite the procedure that gives the public a say in environmental decisions.

— Victoria Advocate


FERC approves NextEra takeover of Texas transmission company Oncor

Jan. 9 — FERC approved the takeover of Texas power transmission owner Oncor Electric Delivery Co. by NextEra Energy.
Oncor is part of bankrupt Energy Future Holdings Corp., with Energy Future’s power plants in Texas spun off late last year to creditors and now operating under the name Vistra Energy.

— Electric Light & Power


houstonbusinessjournalNRG completes world’s largest carbon capture unit in Fort Bend County

Jan. 10 — Houston-based NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) and Tokyo’s JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp. have completed their joint venture carbon capture unit, called Petra Nova, on budget and on schedule, the companies said in a press release.

— Houston Business Journal


utilitydiveFERC approves $18B NextEra-Oncor deal

Jan. 9 — Federal regulators have given the thumbs-up to NextEra’s plan to purchase Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC, moving the much-debated deal closer to fruition, as well as its bid to acquire Texas Transmission Holdings Corp, which holds a 19.75 stake in the transmission and distribution utility.

— Utility Dive


wsjlogoLenders offering energy-conscious loans care little about borrowers’ creditworthiness

Jan 10 — About $3.4 billion has been lent so far for residential projects, and industry executives predict the total will double within the next year. That would likely rank PACE loans as the fastest-growing type of financing in the U.S. As the loans spread, so do problems that echo the subprime mortgage crisis.

— Wall Street Journal


utilitydiveFERC approves $18B NextEra-Oncor deal

Jan. 9 — Federal regulators have given the thumbs-up to NextEra’s plan to purchase Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC, moving the much-debated deal closer to fruition, as well as its bid to acquire Texas Transmission Holdings Corp, which holds a 19.75 stake in the transmission and distribution utility.

— Utility Dive


DMN LogoBack to the future: AT&T to pilot use of power lines for high-speed internet

Jan. 5 — AT&T will soon test a new way to deliver high-speed internet that blends together new and old technology.
The Dallas-based telecom company will start field trials for an approach that could bring internet to anyone on the electric grid by using power lines. The technology uses low-cost plastic antennas and devices placed on power lines so that the existing infrastructure is a guide for broadband signals. The power lines don’t carry the signal, and no electrical connection is needed.

— Dallas Morning News


HoustonChronicleHouston Sewer Crews Keep Busy With Barbies and Bacon Grease

Jan. 2 — Grease blockages are the main cause of Houston’s epidemic of sewer overflows, a problem so widespread that it has drawn the city into negotiations with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The multibillion-dollar enforcement action that could result – likely increasing residents’ water bills – would be aimed at limiting raw sewage spills by replacing pipes and ramping up maintenance and education. Houston, in other words, has enough sewer problems without residents making things worse.

— Houston Chronicle


PUC dismisses application by request/WCCMUD, Kemp still negotiating terms after PUC approval

Jan. 6 — Following an executive session on Dec. 19 of the WCCMUD Board Meeting, the board’s attorney stated for the public that the PUC has found the utility’s application to be administratively complete but made no mention of the dismissal of the application by mutual request of both the City of Kemp and the utility.

— Cedar-Clear Lake Monitor


AT&T anticipates skipping FCC review of Time Warner acquisition

Jan. 6 — AT&T’s $85 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Inc. is facing a serious hurdle in a potential FCC review, but AT&T thinks that regulatory process won’t be necessary. According to an SEC filing, AT&T is anticipating that Time Warner won’t have to transfer any of its FCC licenses following the completion of the acquisition. Although, the company notes that its conclusion is subject to change.

— FierceCable.com


the-washington-post-logoRepublicans can cancel some Obama environment rules. But they’ll have to choose carefully.

Jan. 4 — As a new Congress convenes this week, regulatory reform is the rage, and the upshot seems to be that at least a few of President Obama’s environmental regulations could be dismantled quickly by the Republican Congress, with President-elect Donald Trump’s approval.

— Washington Post


Texas TribunePoor Texans left in dark as state electricity aid program ends

Jan. 5 — North Texas was freezing during a three-day stretch last month, but Mary Garcia refused to turn on the heat in her cramped apartment. She feared that doing so would too quickly drain her pay-as-you-go account with Penstar Power, a Dallas-based electricity provider.

On Dec. 19, with just $15.31 in her account and the outside thermometer showing 27 degrees, Garcia composed a plea to Lite-Up Texas, a state program that had long helped low-income folks pay their electricity bills.

— Texas Tribune


wsjlogoEnergy Future Cleared to Poll Creditors on Bankruptcy Exit

Jan. 4 — A bankruptcy judge authorized creditors to begin voting on Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s chapter 11 exit plan Wednesday after the Texas power giant flip-flopped on a deal with senior lenders.

In a flurry of action in the final days of 2016, Energy Future walked away from a peace pact with its top-ranking lenders and cut a new deal with junior bondholders York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC, GSO Capital Partners LP, Avenue Capital Management and Angelo Gordon & Co.

— Wall Street Journal



Final batch of Obama efficiency rules could test Trump administration

Jan. 4 — The Obama administration closed out 2016 with new energy efficiency standards for five product classes, potentially saving between $15 billion and $35 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

— Utility Dive


voxHere’s what optimistic liberals get wrong about Trump and climate change

Jan. 4 — So who’s right — the pessimists or the optimists? Both make decent points. But it’s worth taking time to square the two views, to understand what’s really at stake in the Trump era.

— Vox


utilitydiveHow will Rick Perry run the Department of Energy?

Jan. 3 — In mid-December, President-elect Donald Trump announced he would name former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to head the Department of Energy, a seemingly ironic choice, since Perry once proposed shuttering the entire agency.

Perry called the decision a “tremendous honor,” but has said little of his plans for the agency. Even so, his coming nomination has divided energy observers, with some arguing he is not as qualified as the scientists who led the DOE under President Obama.

— Utility Dive


hillDem AGs warn Trump against repealing Obama’s climate rule

Dec. 29 — A group of Democratic state attorneys general is warning President-elect Donald Trump against repealing the Clean Power Plan, saying it would lead to more lawsuits.

The group, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) and representing 14 states and five localities, wrote Thursday that it is in Trump’s best interest to preserve Obama’s climate change rule for power plants and continue defending it in federal court.

– The Hill


MIT report questions value of distributed solar

Jan. 2 — The Utility of the Future report decries poor state-level rate-making, mythical cross-subsidies by non-solar customers, and economies of scale as reasons that adding more distributed PV to utilities’ portfolios make little long-term economic sense.

— PV Magazine


McAllen Residential Rates To See 65% Increase ($55 Per Month)

Jan. 3 — Sharyland Utilities has filed an amended rate filing package with the Public Utility Commission of Texas that would, in addition to new levels for base rates, impose new riders on retail electric providers.

— Energy Choice Matters