Power firm Oncor Electric Delivery’s (Oncor) sister companies Luminant and TXU Energy have voiced disapproval of a proposed battery storage project across Texas, US.
Earlier this month, Oncor made a proposal to install 5GW of battery capacity across Texas at a cost of $5.2 billion. The Dallas-based company aims to improve its network of power lines with the project to manage supply and demand more efficiently.
TXU Energy and Luminant criticised the project for being too costly for consumers. “Luminant and TXU Energy support the development of battery technology in [Texas]. But subsidising batteries via the utility rate base would shift risk to ratepayers and undermine the competitive market,” the energy firms said in a statement.
Electric utilities TXU Energy and Laminant are worried that Oncor will pass the cost on to consumers and raise their utility bills, whereas Oncor said that the flexibility to manage supply and demand would actually lower utility bills.
“Batteries act like generation resources so they should remain part of the competitive market, which can better handle and appropriately price battery technology risks,” Luminant and TXU Energy added.
A study by the Brattle Group, which consults the state’s power regulator, expects that electricity prices would decrease for consumers, but at the same time transmission companies would file for increased rates.
“I think the initial reaction is, there’s a bright line between the transmission companies and the generators,” John Fainter, president of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas.
Oncor is Texas’ largest regulated electric delivery business, supplying 7.5m consumers with electricity. The company’s proposal is still to be amended and approved at the Texas Legislature and Texas Public Utility Commission before it can proceed.