Agreement between energy giants ensures continued operation of 2 East Texas power plants

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Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 4:16 PM CST
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AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - Considering how cold it is, you probably don’t want to even think about being without power.

However, for some Texans, it almost happened because of a fight between two of the state’s energy giants.

Tonight, there is good news. An agreement has been reached in the feud that involved two East Texas power plants and threatened power supply to 400,000 Texas homes.

A document filed on Thursday afternoon around 3:10 p.m. reflects an agreement ending a feud that could have resulted in 400,000 Texas homes and businesses going without power in frigid conditions.

The Stryker Creek power plant in Cherokee County was one of five Texas power plants caught up in a fight between Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer and Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra, which runs the Stryker Creek plant and the Trinidad power generation facility near Athens.

Their fight results from a threat made by Energy Transfer to cut off fuel to the five Vistra plants they serve on Monday if Vistra didn’t pay them $21 million owed from the winter storm.

Energy Transfer said that debt resulted from Luminant over-ordering natural gas supply during the winter storm and not using it all.

It was that threat to halt natural gas service that prompted Luminant to file a 149-page complaint with the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry, on Wednesday, saying the plants that are threatened provide power to about 400,000 Texas homes and called it “illegal and grossly irresponsible.”

On Thursday, Wayne Christian, the chair of the Texas Railroad Commission, tweeted his concern, saying the two power giants “must come together to resolve this issue so that no Texans lose gas or electric service during cold weather. Do what’s right for Texans.”

His plea and the request from Vistra making this fight public seem to have paid off. An agreement has been reached between the two companies to continue the flow of natural gas to plants like Lake Stryker and Trinidad through March 31.

If service would have been cut, three of the plants do have access to other pipelines, but they would have had a hard time running at full capacity. Two of the plants, including the one in Trinidad, are served only by the Energy Transfer pipelines.

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