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More than 3.9 million US customers without power; prices remain elevated


Vast majority in Texas

Prices separation by outage cause

  • Author
  • Mark Watson
  • Editor
  • Richard Rubin
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power

Austin, Texas — More than 3.9 million electricity customers were without power across the US Lower 48 states the morning of Feb. 17, according to, with almost all of the outages caused by this week's polar vortex and almost all of that in Texas.

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The market effects have been diverse, depending on the cause of power outages, whether by generation outages or by interruptions in transmission and distribution service.

In the areas affected by capacity shortages – the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator's South Region and Southwest Power Pool's area in and around Texas -- wholesale power prices have soared.

In Texas, real-time prices as of 10:30 am CT were at the systemwide offer cap of $9,000/MWh.

In MISO South's Texas Hub, the real-time price was more than $526/MWh, and the Arkansas Hub price was about $485/MWh.

In the SPP South Hub, the real-time price was about $1,201/MWh.

In Texas, the top utilities, in terms of customers without power as of 10:45 am CT were:

  • CenterPoint Energy: 1,252,495
  • Oncor: 668,329
  • American Electric Power Texas: 375,352
  • CPS Energy: 286,057
  • Texas New Mexico Power: 110,199

All of the above are in ERCOT, but Entergy Texas is in MISO South and it had 44,744 customers out of service as of about 10:45 am CT, the seventh-largest total in Texas.

In areas affected by winter storm damage to transmission and distribution primarily Oregon and Kentucky – wholesale power prices have been somewhat subdued.

At the Pacific Northwest's Mid-Columbia pricing point, the real-time price for 1 pm CT Feb. 15 was assessed by S&P Global Platts at less than $156/MWh. These assessments are backward-looking and the assessment for Feb. 16 is not yet available.

In the area of eastern Kentucky primarily affected by outages, which is in the PJM Interconnection, real-time prices as of noon CT Feb. 16 was less than $136/MWh.