The Association of Electric Companies of Texas, the industry trade group, has issued another misleading analysis about electric prices in Texas. For years before the Texas deregulation law, average electric rates in Texas remained below the national average. Since deregulation, residential rates in Texas have remained consistently above the national average. This has not changed.
But in a new post on its website, AECT uses apples-to-oranges price comparisons to try to suggest that the status quo is working for consumers. That is, the trade group compares one type of electric rate nationwide during one month to a completely DIFFERENT sort of electric rate in Texas during a DIFFERENT month. Interestingly, the accompanying pricing chart by AECT lists average residential rates in just about all of the 50 states EXCEPT Texas. Is this because AECT knows that average residential rates in Texas have remained consistently above the national average for all these years since deregulation?
Let’s look at the real facts:
*During August, which is the last month for which the federal government has relevant data, average electric rates in Texas remained above the national average. This is true for both residential and commercial customers. That is, both home owners and businesses are feeling the pinch.
* A comparison of electric rates in Texas with those in nearby Oklahoma and Louisiana shows a similar pattern. According to the most recent federal data, average residential rates in Texas are 53.1 percent higher than those in Louisiana, and 44.7 percent higher than prices in Oklahoma. Both states have a similar reliance on natural gas as Texas. Oklahoma and Louisiana have regulated electricity markets.
*A survey by www.whitefence.com, a commercial website that surveys electric prices across the United States, found that Houston and Dallas ranked second and third respectively for highest prices among major cities. These prices were for August, the same month noted in the AECT analysis. Whitefence noted that prices in Texas cities during this month exceeded even those in scorching hot Las Vegas and Phoenix.
*Even the Public Utility Commission has noted this disparity. In a recent report to the Sunset Advisory Commission, staff at the agency noted that residential electricity prices from competitive suppliers were nearly 30 percent higher than the national average.
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.