Summer may have come and gone, but the icy relationship between Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Texas House leadership over differing responses to the February winter storm has yet to thaw.
In an email on Friday evening, Patrick took aim at outgoing State Rep. Chris Paddie (R–Marshall) for his role in offering “bailouts” to electric companies that charged sky-high rates during the blackouts that swept the state earlier this year.
As the chair of the House State Affairs Committee, Paddie’s committee saw much of the legislation in response to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and their failure to properly manage Texas’ electric grid—leading to sky-high electric prices for those lucky enough to have power during the storm. Most notably, the Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT, approved a price of $9,000 per megawatt hour during the height of the winter storms, which resulted in high wholesale prices of electricity to providers and consumers on wholesale variable rate plans.
But while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Senate repeatedly attempted to pass legislation to retroactively lower electric prices to energy providers, the attempts were killed by Texas House leadership—including Paddie.
The Public Utility Commission’s vote on Docket 52322, which finances $2.1 billion for retail electric companies, is infuriating. I’m extremely frustrated because this vote is bad public policy and a bad decision for Texas taxpayers.
This action will benefit some of the companies who made money during Winter Storm Uri. What a shameful decision and awful policy! This is not what the government should do with taxpayer money!
This vote is a settlement agreement the PUC endorsed. But it does not provide transparency to distinguish between companies that made money and those that lost money during Winter Storm Uri. Again, this goes completely against what we asserted in the Texas Senate.
The House author of House Bill 4492, Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, has been disingenuous throughout the legislative process and after. After the bill’s passage, Rep. Paddie wrongly told the PUC that the bill’s legislative intent did not include netting, despite on the record evidence during the passage of the bill to the contrary. Now, his motivations have been exposed as he prepares to leave the legislature and may be seeking a highly compensated position in the same electric industry that stands to benefit from his position of no netting and no transparency. Rep. Paddie has forfeited his credibility with my office and with many members of the Texas Senate.
The “highly compensated position” Patrick is referring to is the president of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT). Texas Scorecard first reported last week that Capitol sources have said Paddie is under consideration to lead the electrical lobby group.
Paddie announced last month that he would not be seeking re-election, after being censured by his county Republican Party.