Yesterday the Houston Chronicle ran a commentary from Texas PUC Commissioner Barry Smitherman arguing that retail choice and competition benefits customers:
Consumers who actively shop for electricity are reaping the benefits of competition while those who, for whatever reason, remain with the incumbent provider are not. Lower electricity prices are available to all consumers and approximately 28 percent of residential load (demand) has switched and is realizing savings up to 18 or 20 percent. …
…while natural gas prices have almost doubled, the effects of electric competition have dramatically dampened rising fuel prices — fuel prices which in the regulated world were, and continue to be, passed on directly to consumers. …
The real question is: What electric rates would all Houstonians pay today, considering the dramatic increase in natural gas prices over the past several years, if everyone in Houston had only one choice of electric provider?
Most Texans and all Houstonians can fight back against higher electric bills by shopping for the lowest-cost provider. That’s an opportunity that is only available in competitive markets.
Yeah. What he said.