Rolling Blackouts: No Manipulation Found -- Yet

February 16, 2011

Although the Texas Public Utility Commission is still looking into the matter, they have yet to find any evidence of illegal market manipulation from the rolling blackouts across Texas earlier this month.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) ordered the rolling blackouts as temperatures dropped below freezing across the state and caused 82 power plants to be shutdown.

Senators held a joint meeting with the PUC chairman to find out exactly what happened. After hearing the number of power plants that were knocked offline, the Senators rightfully expressed shock that our plants were not prepared for cold weather. Evidently, the newer plants fared worse than the old ones since they had yet to see a winter this cold.

The concerns over market manipulation stem from a number of past incidents, including allegations that TXU purposefully took plants offline in 2005 to manipulate power prices. That case was settled for $15 million with no admission to wrongdoing.