New data from the Association of Electric Companies of Texas confirms what consumers have known for a long time – that Texans are getting a raw deal under electric deregulation.

According to a recent telephone survey by the industry trade group, the 10 lowest cost electric deals in the state are available only to consumers living outside deregulation. That means that Texans in deregulated areas can shop around all they like and still never find better fixed rate deals than those enjoyed by millions of Texans outside electric deregulation.

The industry survey also found that residents in some of the very largest service territories outside deregulation – San Antonio, Austin, Brownsville and AEP SWEPCO – have some of the most affordable rates in Texas. Rates in each of those areas are superior to even the lowest fixed-rate deals under deregulation, according to AECT. Also note that low-cost offers under deregulation are never as low-cost as they seem. That’s because they contain plenty of hidden charges and fine-print restrictions.

The AECT findings parallel a company’s separate survey that concluded that residents in deregulated Houston and Dallas pay the some of the highest bills in the nation. For years before deregulation, Texans paid rates below the national average. Now Texans pay among the nation’s highest.

— R.A. Dyer