(Reuters) – The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas said eight power generating companies failed to file winter readiness reports by the Dec. 1 deadline, violating rules adopted to avoid blackouts and other energy emergencies like last winter’s February freeze.
The move on Wednesday was the latest in a series of state measures designed to prevent a repeat of disruptions caused by February’s Winter Storm Uri, which killed more than 100 people and left around 4.5 million homes and businesses in Texas without power and heat – in many cases for days.
Out of 850 state generation resources, the PUC identified 13 facilities owned by eight companies that missed the deadline.
The PUC did not name the eight companies but said it recommended more $7.5 million in administrative penalties for reporting failures.
The 13 resources can generate 801 megawatts (MW) of electricity, less than 1% of the state’s 120,000 MW of capacity.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes on average but only about 200 homes on a hot summer day.
“The (PUC) cannot tolerate the failure of these companies to even file their readiness reports,” PUC Executive Director Thomas Gleeson said in the release, noting the readiness reports are critical to ensure the generation fleet is more prepared to provide service through severe winter weather.
The PUC said penalties for violating weatherization rules have increased to $1 million per day per violation.
The PUC said entities receiving violations have 20 days to respond and can request a hearing.
In addition to weatherization rules, the state has in recent weeks lowered the wholesale power price cap from $9,000 per megawatt hour (MWh) to $5,000 to protect customers from soaring power bills and adopted new rules to keep electricity flowing to natural gas facilities that provide fuel to power generating plants.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Jason Neely)