(Bloomberg) — The sprawling blackouts that plunged Texas into chaos in the midst of an historic cold blast are easing, but the energy crisis that the outages sparked continues.
Four of the largest refineries in Texas are discovering widespread damage from the deep freeze that crippled the state and expect to be down for weeks of repairs, raising the potential for prolonged fuel shortages that could spread across the country.
About 220,000 homes and businesses in the state were still without electricity Thursday night, according to Poweroutage.us, which aggregates data from utility websites. That’s down from more than 3 million on Wednesday. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a tweet that any remaining residential outage is due to downed power lines or the need for reconnection.
The economic fallout from the crisis is broad and potentially lasting. U.S. oil production plunged by a record 40%. While some wells are being restarted in Texas, several companies in the oil industry have claimed force majeure, a warning to customers that they won’t be able to meet deliveries under contract.
Repercussions are being felt in the global crude market. Top U.S. liquefied natural gas exporter Cheniere Energy Inc. said it’s temporarily cutting gas and electricity consumption.
“None of the massive infrastructure was designed to handle freezing conditions,” Paul Sankey, an oil analyst at Sankey Research, wrote in a note. “This is an energy crisis that very few in the market, certainly outside Texas and Oklahoma, realize.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has taken the extraordinary step of restricting the flow of natural gas across state lines, Thursday afternoon demanded that lawmakers make winterization of power plants mandatory. Abbott harshly criticized the state’s grid manager for what he said was a failure to provide a realistic assessment of Texas’s generating capacity prior to the unprecedented cold snap.
Read More: How Extreme Cold Turned Into a U.S. Energy Crisis: QuickTake
All time stamps are EST.
Texas Power Seller Sounds Off as Prices Stay Sky High After Supply Returns (12 a.m.)
Griddy, the Texas power retailer that fully exposes its customers to real-time swings in wholesale power markets, said it plans to fight regulators who kept prices high Thursday night even as supply returned to normal.
On Monday, the state’s Public Utility Commission ordered its main grid to keep prices near the cap of $9,000 per megawatt-hour to incentivize as much generation as possible to come onto the grid amid shortages that caused millions to lose power in rolling blackouts.
As of Thursday night, those prices remained at the cap even though enough generation had come back online to return power to nearly everyone in the state. There were about 9 gigawatts of excess capacity as of 11 p.m. local time, according to grid data.
According to Griddy, a typical home would pay $640 a day for power at current prices, compared with $2 in normal…
Go to the news source: Power Returns to Texas Grid at a High Price: Energy Update