COLLEGE STATION, TX — On March 11, College Station Utilities stated the total estimated costs for providing electricity during winter storm Uri is expected to be more than $48 million.
Forced to purchase several days of replacement power, College Station Utilities is reporting paying at inflated Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market-based prices.
This cost is reported to be $13.6 million.
Alongside this, the city is also reporting paying $34.5 million to ERCOT as they were required to cover all ancillary services, or simply put, the costs for maintaining reserve power above the market demand requirements, ensuring the stability of the electric grid.
Culminated in a 10-day period, the $34.5 million costs reflect a stark contrast to the $15,000 monthly cost for this service in 2020.
At this time, the city is reporting ERCOT applied its ancillary charges to utilities even after the mandate for rolling outages was lifted.
Furthermore, it is possible that CSU may be billed by ERCOT for their unrecoverable debt, accumulated by other retail electric providers/utilities that have either chosen not to pay their bills or declared bankruptcy.
As of March 11, it is unknown what portion of other parties' debt CSU will have to pay. However, it is possible for it to be in the millions of dollars.
So what happens now?
For now, the City of College Station plans on monitoring the actions of ERCOT, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and the state legislature may take to reduce these upcoming costs.
At the time of this publication, the city is stating they, "will use its electric fund reserves and short-term financing tools to meet our power supply obligations, then begin to rebuild our electric fund reserves."
Being a municipally-owned utility, CSU will continue to provide information to its customers and ratepayers.
Additionally, consideration of electric rates will be discussed with the College Station City Council in the spring and summer as part of the annual budget process.