Barry Smitherman: How Texas Used a Free Market to Reduce Electricity Prices and Pollution

Barry Smitherman has an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, “How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution.” Smitherman is former chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and before that of the Texas Public Utilities Commission.

He highlights price reductions available to consumers as compared to prices immediately before the retail market opened in 2002 and notes the dramatic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions as natural gas and renewable capacity and output grows at the expense of coal powered electricity.

Lubbock, my current hometown, gets a shoutout for seeking to join the competitive ERCOT market:

Finally, there may be no better evidence of the virtues of competitive electric markets than the city of Lubbock’s intention to transfer its municipally owned electric utility from the Southwest Power Pool into the ERCOT market. Under this proposal, most electric customers in Lubbock will now have power that is sourced from the competitive wholesale market, and people in Lubbock may eventually be able to choose their own electricity providers.

AN ASIDE: I first posted about this op-ed on my Facebook page, Giberson Energy Markets. Since starting the page a few years ago – mostly to share articles with former students and a few energy policy folks – I have noticed that it serves as a kind of substitute for simple KP blog posts that highlight a news story or commentary piece. Think of it as “microblogging.” Sometimes I simply share links there, but usually I’ll add a comment or two on the piece.

Take a look and “like” the page on Facebook if you like it.