January 2012 – An EPA regulation dealing with cross state pollution has been set aside.
The U.S. Court of Appeals has granted a request by the State of Texas to stay the cross-state air pollution regulation, which had the potential to cause electricity reliability issues during peak demand situations in Texas such as occurred last winter when several Texas power plants went off-line during freezing temperatures. During that time last winter, electric utilities in Round Rock and surrounding areas experienced rolling outages lasting up to several hours.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott made the request to have the EPA rule postponed. AG Abbott and many other state officials claimed the new EPA regulations would adversely affect the reliability of Texas’ electricity grid. Power plant operators also claimed hundreds of jobs would be lost because plants that did not meet the emission restrictions would be forced to close. Fewer operating utilities generators could also mean an increase in electricity rates in Round Rock and other areas in the state.
The Texas AG says the Environmental Protection Agency violated laws that require the feds inform the state of rule changes well in advance, which would give the chance for entities affected by the rule to participate in the action or change. Abbott says the EPA denied Texas the ability to participate, therefore the EPA violated federal law.
Quoting Abbott, “The EPA relied on flawed science to advance its aggressive agenda despite the negative effect the new federal regulation would have on Texas’ economy, electric grid, and Texans’ access to electricity.”
Texas Gov Rick Perry gave his approval of the Appeals Court decision by saying “The court was right to stay this highly flawed, job-killing rule that was based on inaccurate and incomplete information.”
The Court won’t conduct a full review of the petition until later this year. That review is not expected earlier than April of 2012.
With respect to Round Rock utilities prices, this is good news. Many experts were predicting higher electricity rates for 2012 if these regulations went into effect. With the stay handed down by the court, it’s a good bet that electricity rates in Texas will remain stable for the time being, as they have been for a few years now.
If you have any questions about the Round Rock electricity market, we would be glad take the time sharing our knowledge. Call us at 512-827-8005.