By: Chris Martin |

  • Vistra closed three coal units that generated 4.2 gigawatts
  • Forward price for 2018 peak jumped 40 percent over five days

Massive coal plant retirements are already pushing up Texas power prices, and next year it could get even worse.

Vistra Energy Corp. eliminated more than 4 gigawatts of Texas’s capacity this year when it shut its money-losing Monticello, Sandow and Big Brown plants. That’s tightened supplies in Texas’s market, sending wholesale power prices for August delivery surging almost 40 percent in the past five days, forward curve data compiled by Bloomberg show. Vistra Chief Executive Office Curt Morgan is projecting that the same will happen next summer.

“The bigger upside for us is in 2019,” Morgan said on a conference call Monday.

The company is apt to close even more plants once it completes its acquisition of rival Dynegy Inc. later this spring. It plans to lock in higher power prices now, Morgan said.