Failure by Design Some Made 40 Billion Profit While Texans Froze

Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association – CLE Presentation

Thursday, March 04, 2021
12:00 PM-1:00 PM CST

What Texas did was "not much different than what Enron did in the California electricity market in 2000-2001. Except that market manipulation was illegal in California, but not in Texas, thanks to ERCOT. It was destined to come crashing down, and the polar vortex of 2021 was the assault that finally broke the Texas grid.” - Ed Hirs. "Why Texans are cold and in the dark." Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2021, Op-ed.

Ed Hirs, Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee, and State Representative Jon Rosenthal will discuss how a winter storm pushed Texas into crisis, and what should be done to prevent future failures. Hirs will explain how deregulation of the Texas grid was led by the innovative energy trading firm Enron. Menefee will talk about the various investigations that are going on (PUC, State Leg, AG, HCAO), the ERCOT sovereign immunity lawsuit, and the Uri lawsuits that have been filed thus far. Rosenthal will discuss prospects for state legislation to address the problems with ERCOT. The panel will explain how without fundamental changes to the state’s power grid, another failure is certain and with it further loss of life. Resolving Texas’s energy debacle requires major structural changes. An expedient solution is to create a capacity market similar to those in other states wherein generators would be compensated to keep their equipment ready. A second option is to return to a vertically integrated market that is focused on reliability such that power is available every day and the utilities earn a guaranteed return on investment for building out capacity that may only be required a few days a year when demand peaks. James Cargas will join for Q&A.

Webinar Details

For more information on this webinar, visit the Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association's Facebook event page.

Other Speaker(s)

Ed Hirs (UH Energy Fellow and Lecturer in Economics, University of Houston; Co-Founder and Managing Member, Zero Carbon Cycle LLC)

Christian D. Menefee (Harris County Attorney)

Jon Rosenthal (Member of the Texas House of Representatives)

James Cargas (Smart Energy Expert, New Energy LLC)


Adam J. Yost