Vistra: Texas freeze caused $1.6B negative cash flow impact

AP file photo

Texas-based power generator Vistra Corp. estimates that the financial impact of Winter Storm Uri cost the company about $1.6 billion in cash flow.

A large number of generator outages during February’s freezing weather, as well as historically high customer demand, forced NRG to pay higher costs for natural gas on the open market, according to its update this week. The company is still dealing with ongoing legal and regulatory challenges related to the impacts of the storm.

Overall, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the state’s grid, reported close to 52 GW in power generation outages from weatherization issues, impacted gas delivery and other factors causing ERCOT to cut service to many regions for extended periods of time.

The dramatic imbalance in supply and demand also drove market prices much higher and hit both utilities and customers hard. Houston-based NRG Energy reported close to $1 billion in negative impact to cash flow from the storm.

“Vistra positioned itself to handle the unprecedented Winter Storm Uri in Texas and executed well in the areas that we could control. The storm led to a confluence of unpredictable events and substantially altered the company’s risk profile, driven by issues with the integrated gas and electric systems, principally impaired gas deliverability, that we had never before seen,” Vistra CEO Curt Morgan said. “We are obviously very disappointed with the financial loss as a result of the effects of Uri and it is even more difficult to accept given our team members’ preparation and execution before, during, and after the storm.”

Morgan vowed that Vistra will implement measures to mitigate future risks seen from the winter storm event.

Brazos Electric Cooperative filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to its financial hit from Winter Storm Uri. The political fallout also led the resignation of ERCOT’s CEO and numerous members of the Texas Public Utility Commission.

ERCOT previously reported more than 1,700 generating or energy storage outages due to the storm. Those plants knocked offline included gas-fired, coal-fire, wind, solar and nuclear.

Some prices on the open grid market hit $9,00 per MWh during the emergency. Nearly 200 people also died as a result of the freezing weather with many losing power, according to reports.

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