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Another Round Of Power Shortages Grips Texas

Another bout of power supply shortages hit Texas this week amid power plant maintenance season, prompting the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to call on Texans to conserve energy.

However, unlike during the February Freeze, this time, the shortage was a lot more temporary, with things returning to normal within a day, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Power supplies tightened on Tuesday afternoon, the daily reports, causing electricity prices on the wholesale market to reach up to $2,000 per megawatt-hour. That was up from about $25 per kWh earlier in the day. By the evening, however, supply had ramped up.

Unfortunately, there is a chance for a repeat of yesterday's power supply situation, at least according to ERCOT's vice president in charge of grid planning and operations.

"These (power plants) are big complicated machines," Woody Rickerson said, as quoted by the Chronicle. "They require maintenance. You can't run them continuously. There may be days like today where (power) margins are tighter than we like," the ERCOT official added. "We could be in the same situation in the next few weeks."

Massive power plant outages were among the worst effects of the February Freeze, which left millions of Texans without light and power, and saddled some with huge bills. The Freeze—and the outages—also led to a slew of lawsuits as utilities and gas distributors pointed fingers at each other as the culprits behind the crisis.

Related: Big Oil Is Dead Set On Exploiting The Wind Power Boom

Warren Buffet, meanwhile, offered to build 10 GW in new gas-fired generation capacity to boost Texas' energy security.

"We really want to make sure that this never happens again. So we're really wanting to partner with the state," Chris Brown, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Infrastructure Group, told Bloomberg in an interview last month. "The proposal is simple: state residents should have a reliable source of backup power."

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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