Another Glorious Achievement for Electricity Deregulation

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This is classic.

The Public Utility Commission set an ambitious goal last year of keeping Texas electricity rates only 13 percent higher than the national average.

Remember, this is the same agency headed by Republicans absolutely in love (still) with the wonders of deregulation.

No other state has gone so deep into electricity deregulation. Yet here we are a full decade into this experiment and the agency charged with overseeing the system is boldly aspiring to keep prices just 13 ticks above the rest of the nation.

So, how’d they do?

This is from their recent self-evaluation report.

PUC goals, electricity prices

As you can see, electricity prices charged by deregulated Texas utilities were over 29 percent more expensive than the national average. The PUC blew their goal by a full 16 percentage points.

In other words, if you paid on average $200 a month for electricity, you were paying almost $60/month more than your friends and family out of state for the same amount of power. That’s $700 more each year. Of course, if PUC had met its own goals, you’d be spending only an extra $312 extra.

Jake Dyer, a former reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and now a policy analyst with utility law firm Lloyd Gosselink, introduces a little history.

Recall that for years before deregulation, electric rates in Texas were below the national average. Recall also the famous words of former state Sen. David Sibley, co-author of the electric deregulation law, who said that the market change would be deemed a failure if it didn’t result in even lower rates.Well it now appears that some within state government have changed their definitions of “success” and “failure” — at least with regards to the deregulated electricity market.

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.