Winter Event Update for Commercial Business

Thank you for being a valued customer. During the second and third week of February, a powerful bolt of Arctic air flowed from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico laying record-breaking low temperatures from the Rockies to the Appalachians.  In connection with this weather event, customer demand surged, generation capacity was forced offline, and wholesale electricity and natural gas prices were extremely high.  

Constellation continues to monitor the markets and impacts on our customers.  You can reach out to your Constellation representative directly or:

Gas Customer FAQs

Bills are outrageously high. What happened?

All-time low temperatures in Texas and nearby southerly and Midwest states caused challenges to the natural gas system. Natural gas supply decreased due to production issues such as wellhead freeze-offs, while at the same time demand for gas for heating and supply to gas-fired power plants soared.  The extreme demand and decreased supply caused severe price spikes in nearly every region of the country.  

The full impact of these incremental supply costs for February invoices will not be known until March. Due to the complexity of the event, March invoices may be delayed.  

Is the state in which I do business impacted? 

The states most impacted that could see higher gas prices as a result of the extremely cold temperatures and high demand for gas are:

  • Arkansas 
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Is Constellation offering any relief for customers who are experiencing these exorbitant charges? 

We understand the burden these events may cause. Please contact your sales representative or Gas Customer Care to discuss payment options, such as deferred payment plans.  

What changes can I expect to see on my next bill? 

The natural gas supply charges our customers receive will be based on the contract the customer has in place with Constellation and specific market conditions for your location.  If your business was affected by the severe weather conditions and gas Operational Flow Orders and/or curtailments, you may see a separate line item outlining the charges associated with the event.

Power Customer FAQs

Prices sound outrageously high. What happened? 

Historic sustained cold weather throughout the entire State of Texas triggered record-setting customer demand. As electric plants were forced offline due to the extreme weather conditions, ERCOT put into place emergency procedures where it shed load via blackouts to balance the electric grid. Under these conditions the PUCT instructed ERCOT to institute a $9,000/MWh administrative price while load shedding occurred, which increased power prices to the maximum allowed. 

This price, which remained in place for 83 hours (about three-and-a-half days), was approximately 450 times the average wholesale price of power for all of 2020. As a result, C&I customers who are on index or pass-through products will see the market prices applied to their load volumes. 

For context, in the ten-year history of the nodal market, there were only 16 hours spent near the cap in Real Time before this event: 3 hours in 2019 and 13 hours in 2011 (the cap was $3,000 in 2011). 

Will billing be delayed?

As a result of this volatility, ERCOT temporarily delayed invoicing wholesale parties, such as generators and retail electric providers (REPs). As actual meter reads became available, we have resumed billing C&I customers.

Is Constellation benefitting from these higher prices?

As a retail electric provider, Constellation is not benefiting financially from these higher prices. The electricity supply rate we charge our fixed price customers is the same amount as prior to the severe weather conditions. 

Is Constellation offering any relief for customers who are experiencing these exorbitant charges? 

We recognize the burden these events place on our customers and we are committed to working closely with you to move forward as quickly and effectively as possible. Please contact your sales representative to discuss payment options, such as deferred payment plans. Constellation is also actively supporting efforts, including at the PUCT, to provide customer relief.  We value your business and will be working to develop and communicate options and assistance available to help you manage impacts from this event. Government assistance programs may be available to help customers impacted by the events in Texas. Visit the Disaster Assistance website for additional information on potential FEMA programs. We will keep you updated on this and other information that may be beneficial.

How will this impact Constellation’s residential customers? 

The vast majority of our residential and small business customers are on fixed price plans and therefore should only experience impacts related to increased usage as a result of this event. Due to increased energy use during the storm, customers may see somewhat higher February bills. However, this potential increase is not the result of storm related price spikes.

Existing Constellation residential customers enrolled on variable rate products before the storm will see stable prices for their February bills.

Does Constellation support the recent filing by the Texas Energy Association for Marketers? Why or why not? 

Constellation supports the emergency filing’s request, as the PUCT Order only authorized ERCOT to maintain the $9.000 administrative price while ERCOT was shedding load for reliability purposes.  Granting the filing will provide significant financial relief to businesses and residents throughout the state,  who will suffer from this emergency long after weather conditions have improved.

Is Constellation doing anything to support the recovery efforts in Texas?

Constellation is steadfast in its commitment to support the communities in which it works, serves and lives. (We have approximately 350 employees in Texas, most of whom are in Houston.) We have made donations to the Houston Food Bank which is providing food boxes to warming centers and shelters and filling disaster orders from neighborhood food pantries as well as to Southern Smoke, a Houston-based crisis relief organization providing need-based direct assistance grants. We will continue to explore ways to support our customers, colleagues and all those in Texas dealing with the fallout from this extreme weather.

Since last month's events, a trade association of energy marketers filed a request with the PUCT challenging ERCOT’s decision to continue to apply the scarcity pricing adder even after it declared the grid possessed excess generation and customer service could be restored. A copy of that filing can be found here. If successful, this filing, and others like it, would have the effect of reducing pricing for approximately 32 hours. Customers have also made filings in support of such appeals as the “Coalition of Concerned Customers,” which can be found here. While we remain hopeful these efforts will be successful and will result in reducing elevated pricing to a degree, there will still be significant price increases impacting customers whose agreements include index and/or pass-through supply components. Additional information pertaining to filings is available at the Public Utility Commission of Texas website.

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