SAN ANTONIO — The deadline is quickly approaching for Texas leaders to act in an effort to lower power bills from February's historic and deadly winter storm.
The Texas Legislature ultimately decided not to pass a bill to force repricing. Now, there's one final chance to adjust the costs of the massive power demands before contracts are finalized Wednesday.
Texans have been holding their breath to see if Gov. Greg Abbott is going to step in and force the Texas power grid operator, ERCOT, to either lower prices or start an investigation into the surging cost of power during the storm. Either way, though, residents across the Lone Star State are expected to pay either way; repricing means they're likely to face big power bills overall in the future.
According to Joshua Rhodes, who studies the economics of electricity at the University of Texas, lower bills now means you'll pay more later.
"If a company comes to Texas and they're operating under a certain regulatory regime, they think this is the way things are going to work and they're banking on their business under those rules and those regulations," Rhodes said. "If those are changed after the fact, it could have a chilling effect on whether companies want to do business in Texas and if fewer companies want to do business in Texas.
"That might mean prices go up in the long term, because there might not be as much competition."