Locke Lord Austin Partner Carrie Collier-Brown Interviewed by Law360 as Texas Supreme Court Set to Review Validity of Power Pricing Orders Set by State Regulators During 2021 Winter Storm Uri

October 10, 2023

Locke Lord Austin Partner Carrie Collier-Brown was interviewed by Law360 discussing the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to review an appellate court's invalidation of orders enacted by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Texas to direct grid operator the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to set the price for power at the market cap of $9,000 per megawatt-hour in order to combat increased demand and low electricity supplies after blackouts caused by Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.

Observers expect the Texas Supreme Court to look at both the legal and practical consequences of the pricing orders during its review of the case. Collier-Brown said she “cannot imagine the court making some kind of esoteric legal conclusion without taking into consideration what the practical economic effects are for the state.”

If the Texas Supreme Court casts a wide net in examining whether state law authorized the PUC to issue the emergency pricing orders, the Justices could look at how the agency's legal obligations to ensure grid reliability should be weighed against its obligations to ensure competitive energy markets, Collier-Brown said.

“There's room in between those things for the Texas Supreme Court to maybe provide some guidance on how those should be weighed in the future by the commission,” Collier-Brown said.

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