Cheap and reliable electricity was the biggest selling point for the deregulation of the Texas electricity market. Now, 20 years after deregulation and weeks after the historic failure of the power grid, KPRC 2 Investigates reveals Texans have overpaid more than $28 billion for electricity.
Right now, on the state’s Power to Choose website, there are 134 options for electric companies and plans. But guess what? For the last 20 years, Texas consumers have been the losers.
“No matter who you choose as a retail electric provider, you’re still paying more than you should,” said the Associate Director of Texas American Association of Retired People (AARP), Tim Morstad. “We’re worried about low-income consumers. We’re worried about those who are really just asked to open their pocketbook and pay for electricity under deregulation.”
How much is deregulation costing us?
We crunched the numbers and discovered every year from 2004 through 2019, Texans in deregulated markets like Houston paid on average – far more for electricity than Texans in cities that pay a municipal electric provider.
In 2006, while we paid an average of 15 cents a kilowatt, Texas consumers in regulated areas paid just 10 cents. In 2014 when we paid 13 cents, they paid 11 cents. Same price comparison in 2019.
When comparing the totals paid for electricity in both deregulated and regulated areas, we found we have overpaid more than $28 billion because of deregulation.
“I think it is extremely unfair for the consumer, both commercial and residential,” said community advocate Emmy Ngo.