Will SB 6 Affect Electricity Affordability?
When it comes to the electric grid, the political rhetoric has reached hyperbolic heights this Texas legislative session. Senate Bill 6, the spotlight piece of legislation among several bills, aims at shoring up the Texas grid. This bill would use money from electric customers to build a dozen or so new gas fired power plants. The 10,000 MW capacity would be on tap in case of emergencies. Ideally, these plants would come online quickly and limit a power outage to just a few hours. To entice generators to erect these plants, the state would guarantee a rate of return. All of this would affect electricity affordability in the state. After all, if the plants go south financially, Texans are on the hook.
Electricity Rates And Affordability Impacts
The chief author of Senate Bill 6, Sen. Charles Schwertner, has stated publicly that reliability comes at a cost. So, of course, power prices will rise if SB 6 becomes law. Texas power plan prices will reflect the change soon enough as summer begins. And if that means home energy bills will rise, most Texans appear to be in favor of that trade-off. Certainly, no one wants another Winter Storm Uri when the power outage lasted days and more than 200 Texans died.
What About Green Energy?
Critics of SB 6 say it unravels more than two decades of precedent for market-based energy solutions in Texas. Is that hyperbolic? Probably so. But the plan favors fossil fuels over green energy like wind and solar. And whenever lawmakers pick winners and losers, some people get upset.
The problem with green energy is that it doesn’t respond quickly to demand. The sun shines when it wants to, and the wind blows when it will. Gas fired plants can start up when customers need power. Energy produced this way is “dispatchable” quickly, as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said on several occasions. So that’s why Republican lawmakers have thrown their support behind SB 6.
What’s Next For SB 6?
SB 6 passed through the Senate chamber last Wednesday and is headed to the House of Representatives for consideration. Should it pass there in its present form, it would head to Gov. Greg Abbot’s desk. He is likely to sign the bill into law.
Texas lawmakers will decide the fate of Texas power over the next few months. Which bill passes will determine electricity affordability and reliability. We don’t have long to wait on the effect. The Legislature will gavel out on May 29, and Gov. Abbott will have 10 more days to sign or veto bills.
Your Power Plan
Even if it’s to pay for better better reliability, price increases come will hit everyone. So your best bet for shopping for Texas power will still be to shop https://www.texaselectricityratings.com. Compare prices now and discover the best plans at the best rates to save on your home energy bills.