The Electric Reliability Council of Texas made a massive error that resulted in $16 billion in overcharges last month when millions of residents were left without power after a historic winter storm, according to a watchdog that oversees the power grid operator.
ERCOT set the maximum price of electricity at $9,000 per megawatt-hour, which caused the massive overcharges from 12 a.m. Feb. 18 to 9 a.m. Feb. 19., Bloomberg reported, citing Texas’ independent market monitor Potomac Economics.
The firm sent a letter to regulators recommending the pricing be corrected and that the $16 billion overcharge should be reversed.
The error also led several electric companies such as EDF Renewable Energy and Just Energy to ask the Public Utility Commission to reset the pricing, and others have asked regulators to waive their payments until the issue was resolved.
“If we don’t act to stabilize things, a worst-case scenario is that people will go under,” Carrie Bivens, a vice president at Potomac Economics, told Bloomberg. “It creates a cascading effect.”
More than 4.5 million customers were left without power during the storm, which claimed the lives of dozens of Texans amid record freezing temperatures.
Four ERCOT board members resigned after coming under fire for not living in the state and for their handling of the power outages.