Consumers in Houston and Dallas continue paying some of the highest electric bills in the nation, according to a new survey by an online comparison shopping firm.

The company, Whitefence.com, reports on its website that Houstonians paid average electric bills of $215.68 in July 2009. That’s higher than what residential electric customers paid in every other American city surveyed that month by the company. Dallas, the only other Texas city listed, had the third highest bills.

And neither are the high bills simply a function of the hot Texas summers, according to the survey data. For instance, residents in sweltering hot Las Vegas and Phoenix still paid much less for electricity than residents in Houston and Dallas. Residents in Houston and Dallas also paid more for electricity than did residents in all the other surveyed cities during the relatively cool months of February and March.

“These survey results confirm what Texans in deregulated areas of the state have known for a long time — that they continue paying too much for power,” said Geoffrey Gay, general counsel for a coalition of municipal electric consumers. Gay noted that Texans paid electric rates below the national average before electric deregulation, but since deregulation have consistently paid above the national average.

A separate report from J.D. Power and Associates also shows that Texans are less satisfied with their residential electric services than they were just one year ago. “Driving this overall decline is decreased satisfaction with pricing,” J. D. Power said in the report, which was released Aug. 20th.

The well known marketing firm collected for its analysis customer data as it relates to pricing, billing, communications and customer service. It found that customer satisfaction had dropped “notably” since 2008.
— R.A. Dyer

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