In 1999, Texas deregulated the retail electricity market. Austin kept it’s municipal power company and remained regulated. Since 1999, rates have increased by 25% in Austin. In the deregulated parts of Texas, rates have gone up 64%. The industry wants to blame it on increases in natural gas prices but other states that are dependent on natural gas saw far lower increases in prices.
The best part of the Statesman piece was this from Senator turned industry lobbyist David Sibley…
The Legislature passed a sweeping deregulation law in 1999 that sought to break down electric company monopolies and remove strict government control over retail electricity rates. The idea was to allow competitive market forces to drive down prices. The sponsor of the legislation, former Sen. David Sibley, acknowledges that rates have gone up but said he still considers the law a success.
Sibley, who now lobbies for power companies and others, blames the hikes on increased natural gas prices. He said Texas is far too dependent on natural gas and would see lower rates if it diversified to coal, nuclear and other energy sources.
“The fuel mix is a problem,” Sibley said. “We’re building nothing but natural gas plants.”
But the report found that even when compared with neighboring states that are also heavily dependent on natural gas, Texas has higher rates. Oklahoma and Louisiana, for example, are big users of natural gas but did not deregulate their markets as Texas did, the data show.
So, David, you told us that deregulation would save us money. Now, while working as an industry lobbyist, you want us to believe another of your lies? Sure thing. But first, would you mind setting your hair on fire?
Texans will see lower electricity rates when we reregulate the market. Let’s be honest, markets work best when someone is looking over industry’s shoulder.