Environmental Defense Fund: New Analysis Quantifies Natural Gas Waste and Pollution in Texas

July 26, 2023 — Operators wasted over $1.7 billion of gas in 2019, underscoring opportunity for action to cut waste, protect communities and increase climate security.

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NBC DFW: Some customers may see incorrect past due balances on gas bills

July 19 — Atmos Energy says it has identified a potential error with some July natural gas bills that may show an incorrect past-due amount. Atmos points out that the total amount due and the previous balance listed on bills are correct. Atmos says if customers pay their bills, automatically, the correct amount will be drafted from their bank or credit card account.

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Politico: Texas regulators go easy on the gas fines

July 20 — Independent observers say the divergent levels of scrutiny for utilities and gas companies is largely because of Texas leaders’ lingering skepticism of renewable energy. Politicians and Texas regulators publicly blame electricity producers but “with the subtext that [they] rely too much on wind and solar,” said Hugh Daigle, a petroleum engineering professor at the University of Texas, Austin.

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E&E: Texas failed to crack down on gas after grid crisis

July 20 — An E&E News analysis of state weatherization records found that few operators have been written up for violations beyond paperwork, raising questions about how thorough and effective Texas’ efforts have been.

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The Hill (Commentary): Why Texas is the canary in the crypto mine

July 24 — Crypto initiatives in Texas are important to the industry nationwide because the state is often the canary in the crypto-mine. Without clear instructions regarding crypto from the federal government, Texas is making its own rules. For example, in the wake of the collapse of FTX’s crypto exchange, the state felt it needed to act to protect consumers.

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Houston Public Media: PUCT extends delay in electricity cutoff amid heatwaves, advocates ask for it to extend to September

July 24 — Advocates are asking the Public Utility Commission of Texas to extend its moratorium for extreme weather cutoffs until at least September 15 for health reasons as a heatwave continues to bake the state.

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San Antonio Express-News: Without wind and solar power, ERCOT CEO says, this summer’s grid story could be much different

July 25 — If it weren’t for wind and solar, this summer’s record-breaking power use could be causing problems for Texans relying on the state grid to keep  power flowing to their air conditioners. Renewable energy has been a lifeline for Texas and its growing population, the state’s power grid boss said Tuesday, providing enough cushion to meet the soaring demand. No rolling blackouts. No mandatory conservation notices.

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ABC News: Solar, wind energy keeping Texas power grids running amid weeks-long heat wave

July 7 — As of June, Texas had 36,909 megawatts of wind capacity — the most of any state in the country — and 14,813 megawatts of solar capacity. The only state with the capacity for more solar is California, with 16,416 megawatts of installed solar.

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S&P Global: Cheap gas, strong renewable output weaken Texas power prices during heat wave

July 10 —  Another heat wave promising triple-digit heat indexes across Texas through July 14 has prompted the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to forecast breaking its 80.8-GW peakload record July 11-14, but cheap natural gas and stronger-than-expected renewable output forecasts are keeping triple-digit power prices at bay.

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Inside Climate News: As Texas Cranks Up the AC, Congested Transmission Lines Cause Renewable Power to Go to Waste

July 10 — Solar and wind input is setting records, but the state’s inefficient grid is unable to handle the full load it could deliver in the ongoing heat wave. Consumers are paying the price.

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Reuters: Texas power demand to hit record highs again as heat bakes state

July 11 — After setting 11 peak demand records last summer, ERCOT forecast usage would break the current all-time high of 80,828 megawatts (MW) on June 27 four times over the next two weeks – hitting 82,362 MW on Tuesday, 82,732 MW on Thursday, 83,843 MW on July 17 and 84,135 MW on July 18.

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CBS Texas: Has solar power helped out the Texas power grid this summer?

July 11 — Solar power generation in Texas has increased significantly over the past few years. For all of 2020, ERCOT data shows solar power accounted for just 2% of ERCOT’s energy. In 2021, that number jumped to 4%. And in 2022, it was 6%.

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Axios: Renewables help tame Texas electricity costs as heat wave swamps state

July 5 — Renewable energy is helping to keep electricity costs from skyrocketing in Texas as the state sweats beneath a heat dome.

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KTSA:Texas among least energy-expensive states in US

July 5 — A new study from WalletHub ranks the United States from most-to-least expensive in terms of energy costs. It turns out Texas is the third-cheapest state for overall energy costs.

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Austin Monitor: Resource Management Commission considers petition for oversight on gas utilities

July 5 — Unlike Austin’s municipally owned electric and water utilities, Texas Gas Service is a publicly traded utility company serving 689,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across Central Texas, the Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast. While the city of Austin does exercise some control over rates per their franchise agreement, the rate cases generally entail less public participation than those conducted by Austin Energy or Austin Water.

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CBS TexasCBS Texas: Are smart electricity meters a privacy risk?

July 3 — By now, most Texans have smart electric meters. These meters help consumers more closely monitor their electricity usage and reduce consumption to cut costs if needed. They monitor a home’s energy use and transmit that data to a utility company about every 15 minutes.

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KVUE: How much energy do electric vehicles in Texas pull from the power grid?

July 3 — Texas DMV records showed more than 200,000 light-duty electric vehicles are registered in the state. We looked at their energy demand and ideas for the future.

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San Antonio Current: Texas Pipeline operators release or flare tons of gas during June heatwave

July 3 — One company, Targa Resources, vented more than 500,000 pounds of toxins into the air during 17 reported events over a week-long period of extreme heat.

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Reuters: EV charging firms oppose Texas’ ‘premature’ plan to mandate Tesla standard

July 3 — A group of EV charger makers and operators is pushing back against Texas’ plan to mandate the inclusion of Tesla technology in charging stations, saying it is “premature,” according to a document seen by Reuters and a source aware of the matter.

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KENS 5: Will new state power grid laws affect your utility bill?

July 1 — This means neither of the state actions would be affecting customers bills in the short term. CPS Energy Board Trustee Rudy Garza said the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) could end up taking a year or more on implementing the new laws related to the performance credit mechanism.

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KVUE: Renewable energy sets new record for electricity production in Texas

July 3 — Reports from June 28, 2023, show that renewable generation peaked at 31,498 megawatts. According to ERCOT, one megawatt could power 200 homes during peak demand.

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CBS Austin: Solar wind power continues to help keep the grid stable

July 5 — The Texas grid was operating well under capacity Wednesday – good news as we got a little break from the extreme heat we experienced the last couple of weeks. But even when grid conditions are good, Texas relies on renewable energy to meet the demand. It’s also keeping the cost down.

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