Experts Weigh in on Summer Electricity Bills

Electricity Bills
Electric Meter | Image by Heath Oldham/Shutterstock

North Texans might get to see lower electricity bills this summer.

Now that global energy supplies have stabilized, the typical household should save some money in energy costs, according to David Kinchen, chief operating officer at Energy Ogre, an electricity management company.

“We’re starting summer from a very good position of strength, with relatively low gas prices and a good set of storage numbers,” said Kinchen, WFAA reported.

The average cost of a regular gallon of gasoline in the United States on June 5 was $3.55, down from an average of $4.85 a year earlier, according to the latest data from AAA.

In terms of natural gas storage — directly linked to the price Texans pay for electricity — Kinchen explained that most European reserves were replenished ahead of summer this year.

However, just like last year, he said warmer temperatures could play a big role in determining the energy needs of consumers. In 2022, the rising temperatures and the diminishing natural gas supply caused by the Russia-Ukraine war drove energy prices to rise.

“You had a quantity problem with it being very hot, and you had a price problem with fuel prices being very high. People got bill shock,” Kinchen said.

On top of reaping reduced energy costs, Texans are also supposedly poised to benefit from increased reliability from the state’s electrical grid.

Texas has taken several steps to reform and address vulnerabilities that could impact the state’s power grid. In April, the Texas Senate passed a power grid reform package¬†designed to ensure all “Texans have reliable power under any circumstance.”

Still, not all experts are satisfied with Texas officials’ work to address weaknesses in the power grid. In January, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ senior business economist, Garrett Golding, reported that the state’s electrical grid remained vulnerable to extreme weather events.

“The Texas grid passed the Christmas-time test. However, the cold front was nothing like the deep freeze of February 2021 with respect to how long very low temperatures remained in place and how much freezing precipitation fell,” Golding wrote.

He advised that warmer temperatures have not been as problematic this year, so it could be a good time for consumers to consider locking in a fixed electricity rate.

However, a 2023 seasonal report from ERCOT suggests that the state’s growing population could add stress to the power grid over the summer and likely spur new electricity demand records this year.

“Data shows for the first time that the peak demand for electricity this summer will exceed the amount we can generate from on-demand, dispatchable power,” said Peter Lake, chairman of the Public Utility Commission, reported The Texas Tribune.

Still, ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas remains confident about the power grid’s ability to handle any system shocks.

“We’ve seen a real active maintenance season this spring,” said Vegas, per WFAA. “We feel we’re in good shape coming into the summer and we’re seeing the planned outages down at levels we expect for this time of year.”

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