Top Texas officials warn of power plant shortages

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The private companies that generate electricity in Texas are not building enough new capacity to meet the state's needs.

Donna Nelson, the chairwoman of the Public Utilities Commission, said that low natural gas prices and difficulty getting financing for new projects are the main culprits. The Texas electricity market encourages competition among private generators.

Making matters worse are last summer's extremely hot summer and the ongoing drought.

The CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Tripp Doggett, said that Texas will not have enough reserve power from 2013 onward, making the possibility of rolling blackout more likely.

Nelson and Doggett told Texas lawmakers Thursday that they are examining how to encourage construction of new power plants by updating market rules. They also said they are encouraging greater conservation.