Jan 21, 2022 - News

Texas energy company threatens to cut off plants powering 400,000 homes

Kelcy Warrent wearing a microphone headset

Kelcy Warren, co-founder of Energy Transfer Partners, is one of Gov. Abbott's biggest donors. Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

One of Texas’ largest power providers asked state regulators to force the Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer to continue natural gas service to its power plants.

  • Luminant Corp. says that Energy Transfer has threatened to stop providing natural gas to its plants as soon as Monday because of $21.6 million in fees related to last February's winter storm, according to a report from WFAA.

Why it matters: Luminant power plants provide energy to 400,000 Texas homes, businesses, schools and hospitals.

Context: After a catastrophic grid failure last year that led to hundreds of deaths, Energy Transfer made a reported $2.4 billion.

What's happening: Luminant's parent company, Vistra Corp., filed a 149-page document with the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees energy matters. The filing included a letter from Energy Transfer stating that if payment is “not received within ten days” it would no longer “deliver gas” to Luminant's gas-fired plants.

  • Energy Transfer sent a response to the commission stating that it will continue to supply Luminant's plants with natural gas while it tries to work out the fee dispute and asked the commission to delay any rulings for now.
  • Railroad Commission officials have not responded to questions about whether the agency will act, per the Texas Tribune.

What they're saying: Energy Transfer's threat to cut off service in the middle of winter is “illegal and grossly irresponsible and should be prohibited by this commission,” Vistra says in the filing.

  • Railroad Commission Chair Wayne Christian tweeted: "I am paying close attention to this. @EnergyTransfer and @VistraCorp must come together to resolve this issue so that no Texans lose gas or electric service during cold weather. Do what's right for Texans."
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