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 … More Barry Smitherman: How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution

House Energy and Power Subcommittee takes a look at the Federal Power Act; one small suggestion for reform

As had been announced in June of this year, the Energy and Power subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives is devoting some time to a deep look into the Federal Power Act (FPA). At the time of the June announcement the committee sent a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) saying: As you know, the … More House Energy and Power Subcommittee takes a look at the Federal Power Act; one small suggestion for reform

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

Dallas Morning News on competitive retail power market fees and rate designs in Texas

At the Dallas Morning News James Osborne reports on the controversy over minimum use fees in the competitive retail power market that includes most Texas households. As discussed here at Knowledge Problem last week, retail suppliers sometimes design contract offers to be especially cheap for consumers using 1000 kWh per month. The state’s powertochoose.org website … More Dallas Morning News on competitive retail power market fees and rate designs in Texas

Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website

To help provide consumer information on competitive retail offers in the Texas electric power market, the Public Utility Commission of Texas maintains a website at http://www.powertochoose.org. Enter your zip code, click a button, and it will display the top ten (out of nearly 300) offers. Because the table shows the lowest priced offers first, with the average … More Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website

Did ERCOT’s shift from zonal to nodal market design reduce electric power prices?

Jay Zarnikau, C.K. Woo, and Ross Baldick have examined whether the shift from a zonal to nodal market design in the ERCOT power market had a noticeable effect on electric energy prices. The resulting article, published in the Journal of Regulatory Economics, and this post may be a bit geekier than we usually get around here. … More Did ERCOT’s shift from zonal to nodal market design reduce electric power prices?