The ongoing debate in Austin over a proposed increase in electricity rates has drawn ever more calls from the city's residents to move to a competitive system, according to The Austin American-Statesman.
Texas has become the state's proving ground for electricity deregulation since it implemented the policy in 2002. The Public Utility Commission of Texas reports that the majority of all the state's residents – 56.45 percent – were getting power from alternative electricity providers as of September last year.
However, the state also maintained some local city utility companies such as Austin Energy. The electricity company has made a strong point of pushing for renewable electricity and various other improvements, but this has led to a 24 percent increase in operating costs aside from fuels from 2007 to 2010.
That rise has forced the utility to ask the city for an electricity rate increase of 12 percent for all customers.
The American-Statesman argues that this kind of sudden and dramatic increase in costs could be avoided simply by giving residents and businesses the opportunity to choose between electricity providers. This would allow those who want to use renewable electricity sources to pay their costs while maintaining lower electricity rates for those who cannot afford them.