Energy & Environment

PUC To Houston And Dallas Electricity Customers: Start Shopping For Better Rate Plans

Some of the Texas officials who regulate the state’s electricity industry say you have only yourself to blame if you’re paying too much.

We just reported this week how a consumer group’s latest analysis shows people in Houston and Dallas have, for years, been paying more for electricity than people in Austin and San Antonio.

Electricity in Austin and San Antonio is sold by the cities themselves which own their respective utility companies.

Houston and Dallas are deregulated markets where people have to choose from dozens of electricity marketing companies offering a myriad of rate plans.

Since Texas developed the deregulated market over a decade ago, customers in those areas have collectively paid $24 billion more for electricity, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.

A day after that group released its latest report on the difference in prices, the members of the Public Utility Commission of Texas shot back, saying the de-regulated market is working.

“Notwithstanding the so called reports that are put out by certain groups,” said Public Utility commissioner Ken Anderson.  “Anybody who’s paying an average of the high and low prices isn’t shopping.”

Anderson said people in the deregulated markets can get good rates if they take the time to pick the right plan.

But finding those great deals can be difficult because the commission’s own Power to Choose website can be deceptive allowing some marketers to offer what look like low cost rate plans that aren’t. That’s according to consumers and to PUC chairman Donna Nelson.

“I really want you all to be looking at these one and a half cent offers because I think they’re deceptive on the face,” said Nelson to staff members, who are working on an over-haul of the website to make the offers more honest. 

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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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