This is the summer of truth for Texas’ costly experiment in electricity deregulation. By the time the first cool front rolls across Texas in the fall, it should be clear that under our current system, electricity can be cheap, or it can be reliable, but it can’t be both. And it may be neither.

A study commissioned by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator, recommends tripling wholesale prices to avert blackouts like the state experienced in February 2011. The Public Utility Commission will vote on a plan later this month to raise the wholesale price cap by 50 percent, with additional increases planned for next year. ERCOT’s study merely “confirms that we are moving in the right direction,” PUC Chairman Donna Nelson said in a statement today.

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