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Texas’ “Competitive” Retail Electricity Market

Great story in Houston Chronicle. Power companies were deregulated by the Legislature to create a competitive market for retail electricity, except for some municipally owned utilities like those in  Austin and San Antonio. Turns out consumers in Austin and San Antonio have the better deal. Power companies do their best to confuse consumers into signing up for higher-cost plans, and they don’t want anyone to mess with their system–and the Public Utility Commission has declined to get involved.

Reporter L.M. Sixel writes:

The maddening experience of shopping for electricity has spawned a group of concierge websites that say they find the lowest-price plans and move their customers when better deals appear.

But some retail electric providers are refusing to do business with the sites, and regulators have decided that’s OK — at least for now, despite concerns over fairness and competition.

The state’s Public Utility Commission approved new rules for electricity brokers last week, including a provision that lets energy retailers refuse to sell electricity plans to customers of the deal-finding sites.

So much for deregulation.

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