UH Expert: Energy Economist Available to Discuss Polar Vortex 2.0

Ed Hirs

Houston, Jan. 21, 2014— Ed Hirs, energy economist, is available to media to discuss the impact of the Polar Vortex 2.0 on natural gas prices and the electric grid in Texas, which issued its second emergency alert Saturday. Hirs can talk about the relationship between price fluctuations of natural gas and the national infrastructure, such as pipelines.

Hirs can be reached at 713-961-9661 or edhirs@aol.com.

On impact on natural gas prices:

“It’s great for the spot (price). We’re seeing a little bump.” That’s partly because natural gas infrastructure isn’t built out to get gas from where it’s produced – included in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania – to where it’s needed." 

On the issue of the Texas grid, which Saturday issued its second emergency alert in two weeks:

"The problem with the Texas grid is that ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of the state’s electric grid, doesn’t have proper incentives for electricity producers to expand production."

And, Hirs notes, “during the emergency a couple of weeks ago, we had to import power from Mexico. Do we really want to have to rely on Mexican power plants to keep our grid reliable?”

Media interested in speaking with Hirs can also contact media relations representatives Jeannie Kever at 713-743-0778 or jekever@uh.edu.