Following the Texas winter storm, Williamson County was charged at least $14,794 in added energy costs by Cavallo Energy Texas, which the county is disputing.
The Williamson County Commissioners Court agreed to dispute the charges during a March 23 meeting.
“Williamson County has received the above-referenced invoices with inflated amounts from the usual monthly billing, which are apparently based on the recent February weather event,” the dispute document read. “We are disputing both the legal and factual basis for calculations of charges for transmission and distribution losses. ... Payments of those charges is being withheld at this time.”
The charges are for buildings and infrastructure in the unincorporated areas of the county, or those not located within city limits or tied to certain energy providers, Williamson County Assistant Auditor Julie Kiley said. This includes the Jester and Taylor annexes and the Williamson County Expo Center, among other properties.
For these building and properties, the county is part of Public Power Pool, or P3, a public, membership energy co-op in the deregulated areas of Texas. Under P3’s, guidance, Williamson County decided to dispute the charges, Kiley said.
Kiley added that there may be future disputed charges once the county receives all the bills from the time period of the storm. As of March 23, there were 19 individual energy charges the county was disputing, according to county documents.
Williamson County is one of many entities who have seen surcharges in their energy bills. Georgetown Utility Systems, the main energy provider for Georgetown city residents, issued $45 million in bonds to pay for additional energy costs following the storm.
Excess charges stem from a decision by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the Texas energy grid, and the Public Utilities Council of Texas, which oversees ERCOT. The entities decided to keep the cost of energy per megawatt hour at $9,000, the maximum cap cost for the price of energy on the market, for 32 hours in order to incentivize more power coming into the grid. State officials have said ERCOT left the price in place longer than necessary, resulting in $16 billion in additional costs to Texas power companies.