Letter: What did Texas’ electrical fiasco cost you? | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: What did Texas’ electrical fiasco cost you?

Now that NPR has reported on Texas energy providers not addressing outages from extreme weather, I need to weigh in. What no one seems to know here is that we also suffered by having our February electrical costs more than double as a consequence of Texas not addressing their ability to withstand unusually cold temperatures.

This is what I know. I got a postcard from Yampa Valley Electric Association explaining that the excessive electricity cost in February (billed in March) was from an “extreme weather event in the Southwest” and would be spread out over seven months starting in May.

When I called YVEA, I explained that I had looked at my 2020 kilowatt usage and found that my 2021 usage was exactly the same, but my electrical bill was more than twice as much for February 2021. The response was that I wasn’t getting charged. I pointed out that spreading it out over seven months meant I was getting charged — which for me is an extra $54.52 per month for seven months, or $381.64.

After further digging, I found out that YVEA buys its electricity from Excel, and Excel also supplies central/eastern Texas. The cost of electricity skyrocketed when Texas had severe weather. I have sympathy for the tragedy of approximately 200 people dying in Texas. The indefensible is that this was not the first time. Texas had an “extreme weather event” in 2011. Regulators told Texas energy providers to improve their power grid. But they didn’t.

YVEA is providing a detailed explanation of the events that led up to their costs increasing by 100% and what was behind the breakdown in supply and what Excel is doing to prevent a repeat. Go to YVEA.com, click on My Account, then click on Excel Energy Power Cost Adjustment FAQs.

I will quote from the website: “Pipes and natural gas headends were not properly winterized, meaning they froze and not enough natural gas was available for homes or power plants. As natural gas is a commodity, the increase in demand and lack of supply drove prices to historic levels. When Excel was purchasing these credits, they were doing so at the elevated level, roughly 100x the price of natural gas the previous day.”

So what do we do as consumers? Had my solar array been up and running eight months earlier, I would not have been affected at all. Does Excel need to do more than write a letter? Will Texas Energy Providers do the right thing? I hope so.

Bette Vandahl

Steamboat Springs

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