As Winter Storm Bears Down, Gas Producer Threatens Cut-Off in Texas

January 20, 2022

The current storm is not at the scale of the Valentine’s Day freeze of last year, but it may provide a test of the upgrades that have been made to the Texas (ERCOT) grid since then.
Hardware is easy – other things take more time.


Vistra Corp. said two units of Energy Transfer LP are threatening to cut off natural gas supplies to power generation facilities it owns in Texas because of a payment dispute over last year’s catastrophic winter storm. 

Vistra subsidiaries including Luminant Energy asked Texas oil and gas regulators to prevent Energy Transfer from terminating gas service to Luminant’s power plants, which serve about 400,000 Texas homes, according to a complaint filed with the Texas Railroad Commission on Wednesday. 

The “threat to terminate service in the middle of winter is illegal and grossly irresponsible and should be prohibited by this commission,” Vistra said in the complaint. 

Energy Transfer said by email that it “will continue to sell them gas pursuant to the same process, terms and conditions that have been in place since Dec. 1, 2021.”

The two units, Energy Transfer Fuel and Oasis Pipeline, are threatening to cease gas service by Jan. 24 because Vistra won’t pay $21.6 million in fees stemming from the February winter storm, when freezing temperatures knocked off gas supplies, contributing to widespread blackouts. The dispute comes as Texas is bracing for a new round of cold and sleet that will test the state’s power grid over the next several days.

Vistra alleges in the filing that the fee is illegal and stems from the power generator securing and delivering gas into the pipeline operators’ systems during the storm.

From the complaint:

Respondents threaten to terminate natural gas service to Luminant’s electric generation facilities as of January 24, 2022. These plants provide up to approximately 2,000 MWs of electricity, serving approximately 400,000 Texas homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. Respondents’ threat to terminate service in the middle of winter is illegal and grossly irresponsible and should be prohibited by this Commission.

First alerted last night by Michael Webber at University of Texas.

UPDATE: below

2 Responses to “As Winter Storm Bears Down, Gas Producer Threatens Cut-Off in Texas”

  1. jimbills Says:

    Energy Transfer is the exact same company behind the recent ad campaign portraying a young couple having a horrible date because many things like football jerseys and hair gel currently rely on fossil fuels:

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      As with Putin’s political control of gas supplies to Europe further motivating their transition to RE, this reminder of the downside of gas-fired power plants in Texas will make intra-grid RE even more desirable.

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