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When the Texas electric grid crashed this week, fingers pointed faster than guns at a Wild West shootout. Conservative media outlets blamed wind turbines. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state’s grid, clarified that frozen natural gas pipelines and power plants were really at fault.
But some economists took aim at the market itself. In 1999, Texas joined more than a dozen other states in “deregulating” its electricity system, meaning that it switched from a monopoly power provider to a marketplace of competing power plants and retail utilities. That deregulated market, some say, failed to provide sufficient incentive for companies to invest in winter preparedness.
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