Energy & Environment

Why People Pay More For Electricity In Houston And Dallas

Consumer group finds “deregulation” continues to lead to higher electricity prices in Texas cities where dozens of companies offer rate plans.

Graphic courtesy Texas Coalition for Affordable Power
Graphic byTexas Coalition for Affordable Power shows Texans paying more for electricity if they live in “deregulated” areas

Bad, but not as bad it used to be.

That’s the upshot from the latest report on how residential customers pay more for electricity in the so-called deregulated areas including Houston and Dallas as compared to people in cities like Austin and San Antonio where there’s just one electricity company.

“If you go back to 2009 it was more than 40 percent difference, in other words, the average price was 40 percent higher in deregulated areas,” said Jake Dyer with the group Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.

The group found that compared to 2009, the difference in 2014 — the latest year data were available — was less, but still meant deregulated electricity was more expensive.

“The average price of electricity was about 15 ½ percent higher in deregulated areas than in areas of Texas without deregulation,” Dyer told News 88.7.

The group’s data reflect what people actually pay for electricity as opposed to what they might pay if they took advantage of the lowest priced offers made by the dozens of marketers that do business in Houston and Dallas. Electricity companies say those prices are very competitive.

Problem is, a lot of people in Dallas and Houston either haven’t chosen or have not qualified for those deals and have, over the past decade, spent billions of dollars more for electricity than people in Austin and San Antonio, according to consumer groups.

As we’ve been reporting, the state’s own website for picking the best offers, Power to Choose, has come under fire for allowing some marketers to trick people into paying more. The state is now reviewing how to improve the website.

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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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