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Houston Matters

The Unintended Consequences of Energy Deregulation in Texas

Back in 1999, state lawmakers voted to deregulate electricity in Texas. The idea: to break up monopolies, provide for competition, and in so doing, drive down consumer costs while ensuring reliability. But is that what has actually happened? Former Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy explores the complexities of electricity deregulation in Texas in the […]

Back in 1999, state lawmakers voted to deregulate electricity in Texas. The idea: to break up monopolies, provide for competition, and in so doing, drive down consumer costs while ensuring reliability. But is that what has actually happened? Former Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy explores the complexities of electricity deregulation in Texas in the March edition of Texas Monthly. He notes how the state's biggest utility may file for bankruptcy, how reliability problems have led to Texans anticipating rolling blackouts, and how there are more layers and bureaucracy today than in the old monopoly system. Steffy suggests that "deregulation" is a misnomer.

We talk with Steffy about his article and about what he sees as the unintended consequences of electricity deregulation in Texas.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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