Utahns get low-cost, reliable electric power. What is wrong with that?

Utah is doing just fine with monopoly electric service, says a state legislator who oversees the Utah Public Utilities Commission. The legislator, Carl Albrecht, was responding to an op-ed appearing in the Deseret News the week earlier by Ethan Dursteler and me in which we encouraged Utahns to consider retail electric competition. Albrecht is right … More Utahns get low-cost, reliable electric power. What is wrong with that?

Op-ed urges Michigan not to reregulate retail electric power

In this morning’s Detroit News appears an op-ed about a utility-supported proposal in the Michigan legislature that would dramatically limit and perhaps extinguish the state’s sixteen year old effort allowing retail choice in electric power. The introduction: Do Michigan consumers want to go forward or backward in reducing their electric bills and modernizing the state’s … More Op-ed urges Michigan not to reregulate retail electric power

Texas PUC continues look at “gaming the rankings” problem on state website. Here’s my solution.

Last week the commissioners of the Texas Public Utility Commission once again complained about retail power suppliers who gamed the ranking system on the state’s retail electric power shopping website http://www.powertochoose.org. This post summarizes the problem and then offers a simple solution. From the Houston Chronicle: Texas’ utility commissioners complained Thursday about confusing or misleading … More Texas PUC continues look at “gaming the rankings” problem on state website. Here’s my solution.

ABBACUS report highlights benefits of retail electric markets

On Tuesday the Distributed Energy Financial Group released its 2015 report, Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS). The report provides an excellent overview of the current state of retail electricity markets in the 18 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada that permit at least some degree of retail competition. The … More ABBACUS report highlights benefits of retail electric markets

Elementary error misleads APPA on electricity pricing in states with retail electric choice

The American Public Power Association (APPA) recently published an analysis of retail power prices, but it makes an elementary mistake and gets the conclusion wrong. The APPA analysis, “2014 Retail Electric Rates in Deregulated and Regulated States,” uses U.S. Energy Information Administration data to compare retail electric prices in “deregulated” and “regulated” states. The report itself presents … More Elementary error misleads APPA on electricity pricing in states with retail electric choice

Technology market experimentation in regulated industries: Are administrative pilot projects bad for retail markets?

Since 2008, multiple smart grid pilot projects have been occurring in the US, funded jointly through regulated utility investments and taxpayer-funded Department of Energy cost sharing. In this bureaucratic market environment, market experimentation takes the form of the large-scale, multi-year pilot project. The regulated utility (after approval from the state public utility commission) publishes a … More Technology market experimentation in regulated industries: Are administrative pilot projects bad for retail markets?

Should regulated utilities participate in the residential solar market?

I recently argued that the regulated utility is not likely to enter a “death spiral”, but that the regulated utility business model is indeed under pressure, and the conversation about the future of that business model is a valuable one. One area of pressure on the regulated utility business model is the market for residential … More Should regulated utilities participate in the residential solar market?

Smart shopping for electric power just got easier in Houston

Michael Giberson CenterPoint Energy, the Houston-area electric distribution company, has launched MyTrueCost.com to help area retail electric customers shop for electric power. Help may be needed: currently 43 companies offer a total of 239 different service options in the CenterPoint service territory according to data from Powertochoose.org, the Texas PUC’s retail power website. The basic … More Smart shopping for electric power just got easier in Houston

Nest learning thermostat featured in Reliant’s Learn & Conserve Plan

Michael Giberson The Nest smart thermostat made a bit of a splash when it was released (and countersplash from other energy equipment makers who said they offered similar features, and counter-countersplash from folks who said “sure, but not that worked so well for consumers,” etc., etc. We talked about Nest here, here, here and here.). … More Nest learning thermostat featured in Reliant’s Learn & Conserve Plan

Competitive power market in Texas faces supply concerns. Now what?

Michael Giberson The question troubling some folks in Texas’s competitive power market: Will Texas consumers want to consume more electric power than suppliers are able to supply? A resource adequacy review by ERCOT, the power system and market operator for most of the state, suggests that consumer demand may outstrip resources available as early as 2014. … More Competitive power market in Texas faces supply concerns. Now what?