In 1999, when the Texas legislature deregulated its electricity market, breaking with decades of tradition that stretched back to Samuel Insull's Commonwealth Edison, rhetoric ran high. Either the decision would save the state's consumers huge sums of money through the magic of competition or greedy companies, freed from the public utility commission, would take the state for all it was worth.
More than ten years later, as Kate Galbraith reports in a deep, balanced piece
for the Texas Tribune
, neither side was right. Natural gas prices cloud any real analysis. Consumers have more choices but they are more confused. About the only thing that's for sure is that renewable energy got a boost.
Conservative groups assert that deregulation has allowed consumers to choose lower electricity prices, caused old plants to be replaced with efficient new ones and encouraged renewable energy. Some ratepayer groups argue that deregulation has caused rates for ordinary Texans to be higher than they would have been otherwise.
It's the kind of piece that a pull quote doesn't do justice, though, so head over and read the Galbraith's reporting.
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