Just Energy, a middleman provider of electricity and natural gas, is based in Canada, but it does a huge amount of business in Texas. Well, perhaps for not much longer.
On February 22, 2021, Just Energy announced in a press release that the company stands to lose approximately $250 million in the aftermath of the arctic winter storm that caused over 3 million Texans to lose power in -10F weather. The release called the financial hit “materially adverse to the Company’s liquidity and its ability to continue as a going concern.”
When natural gas pipes and un-winterized windmills froze while everyone in the state was turning up the heat to keep their pipes from freezing, energy prices in Texas spiked all the way up to the state market cap of $9,000 per megawatt hour. ($50/MWh is more normal, in the increased demand of more typical winter conditions.)
While wholesale power providers like Griddy were able to pass that cost directly to the customers (one man famously shared his sudden bill for $16,000 for a single week in a single-family home), Just Energy’s policies guarantee prices to many of their customers, which has left the company in a real lurch.
Just Energy, which is a publicly traded company, saw its share price drop over a third in the Toronto Stock Exchange after the storm. The company was also in a somewhat precarious state already; heavily in debt, the company restructured its entire board just last summer in an attempt to streamline operations. Currently, Just Energy hopes to forestall further stock loss by delaying the announcement of its fourth-quarter financial situation until after the full impact of the Texas storm is known – and, presumably, until after the Public Utility Commission of Texas decides if any of the energy suppliers can be found at fault for the power shortages.