Here’s the good news. Electric prices in Texas have come down a little bit lately. Now, here’s the not-so-good news: despite the recent drops, electric prices in Texas have remained stubbornly above the national average. They’ve also remained well above prices in neighboring states.
According to the latest data from United States Energy Information Administration, residential electricity prices in Texas are more than 30 percent higher than prices in neighboring Louisiana. The data, which is for the month of May (the latest month available), can be found here. We’ve included a quick summary of the information just below:
The data table illustrates the difference between average residential prices in Texas, average prices in neighboring states and the average price of electricity nationwide. Again, this is from the US Energy Information Administration. Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma have not deregulated their electricity markets. This is not the case for Texas, which had below-average prices before adopting the deregulation law in 1999.
Of course in many parts of Texas you can shop around if you don’t like what you’re paying for electricity. Unfortunately, however, even the LOWEST fixed-rate deals in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas are higher than the AVERAGE deal in Louisiana. According to information from the Texas Public Utility Commission, the very lowest fixed-rate deal in DFW in May was 9.4 cents per k/wh. The very lowest fixed-rated deal in Houston was 10.3 cents. You can review that data for yourself right here. That means the lowest fixed-rate deal in Houston was still about 13 percent higher than the 9.12 average rate in Louisiana.
But what about all those variable rate products out there? It’s true that many of these products are a bit less expensive. But, as Eric Torbenson of the Dallas Morning News notes, when dealing with variable rate products proceed with extreme caution. The newspaper uses the words “pretty much worthless” to describe them in Torbenson’s blog post.
So, to recap: the good news is that electric prices have come down a little bit. The bad news is that Texans still pay more for electricity than their neighbors — and that’s still too much.
Is a policy analyst consultant for TCAP, a coalition of political subdivisions in Texas that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because energy costs are typically a significant budget item to our members, TCAP is consistently looking for ways to save our members money, through cost-saving contracts, energy efficiency or demand response programs.