Deregulation is a fine thing as long as deregulated entities operate with integrity and competence, in that order. Unfortunately, an entity’s operation depends on its people and too many people are not so great at either. An argument has been posed that ERCOT’s failure to enforce strict winterization of electricity generation facilities feeding the Texas grid under its purview is not its fault but the fault of Texas voters choosing legislators incapable of persuading deregulated entities to operate with integrity and competence. A total crock of shit.
Voters are responsible for choosing bad legislators, true, and that very thing happens all too frequently. But any deregulated entity being paid for providing life-sustaining goods and services (In this case, electrical power and it’s reliable distribution) should operate to make sure their goods are high quality and available for use by their paying customers, and that their customers receive all related services expected to consume those purchased goods. Lives depend on the entity’s integrity-driven choice to do so and on their competence to pull it all off without too many hitches and glitches. If they fail to deliver with integrity and competence then they should lose customers.
ERCOT failed to do either of these things, exposing both lack of integrity and gross incompetence. Deregulation is not the cause of their lacking anymore than inept legislators are. Only ERCOT is responsible for their own dismal failures and customers should take steps to stop paying for such crappy goods and services.
Mere days after the storm passed and people are still scrambling to repair freeze-damaged water systems, Texas energy companies are now charging even more for their crappy goods and services, sometimes at outrageously high levels as much as $17K for the month.
Going off grid was the only solution for me to prevent such lack of integrity and overabundance of incompetence as well as avoidance of billing abuses no customer can ever predict. Investment in my little 1KW solar power system, generator, solar-powered well pump, cisterns and propane storage tanks cost much less than some recent energy bills people in Texas have been hit with this month and when the grid is down, I'm not affected by the outage at all.
Reading or watching news of local grid outages sometimes lasting days elicits giggles of deep contentment while sipping a warm drink, sitting beside a good fire aglow in the stove.