For the sixth year in a row, Texas’s deregulated energy market earned the top ranking in the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States (ABACCUS), carried out by the Washington, DC energy management and consulting firm, Distributed Energy Financial Group (DEFG).
ABACCUS was designed to measure successfully restructured North American electricity markets that either allow direct access or customer electric choice. Scores and rankings are based on data available in the market. The assessment found that the deregulated Texas market is very competitive for all customer classes (including residential, commercial, and industrial), and that customers are switching to retail electricity providers in significantly high numbers.
It is the competition among retail electricity providers that drives the industry to bring about lower electric rates as well as more innovative products and services that add value. Currently, there are over 40 providers to choose from in deregulated areas, with each offering varying rates and plans to fit specific customer needs.
From the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Texas: “We keep finding ways to increase customer value in the market place through smart grid innovations and ongoing improvements in the shopping experience, just to name a few.”
Texas’s deregulated electric market has been surrounded by a great deal of controversy since deregulation in the state began a decade ago. Deregulation critics cite average rates for Texas customers as higher than national averages. Critics may be right that customers are not saving money, but this seems to be due to lack of education among consumers rather than deregulation itself.