For the first time in 17 years, customers of Austin Electricity in Texas' capital city will see their electricity rates go up, which is prompting lawmakers and citizens alike to take action to introduce a competitive electricity market.
According to NBC affiliate KXAN, State Senator Craig Estes is a strong advocate of energy deregulation, and has even proposed Austin introduce a competitive energy market in earlier legislative sessions.
"I think there is a large degree of concern over electric rates and where they're going and over somewhat of a monopoly- it's not even somewhat- it's a monopoly," said Estes, about Austin Energy.
Under the new electricity prices, Austin ratepayers will see a 7 percent increase in their electricity bills. While some city dwellers are irked by this hike, those living outside the city limits – but are still subject to the price increase – are the most outspoken.
"If you live in Austin, at least you can feel like, hey, this is paying for my fire, my roads and my police. Out here in the suburbs we're already paying for those things in another tax. So it's a hidden, double tax for us," said Steiner Ranch resident Mark Farrar.
Already, 28 cities in Texas have introduced energy deregulation laws, which allow residents to choose the best electricity rate available.