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    In a move that will greatly affect electricity rates throughout Texas, and could potentially prompt many energy users to switch to retail energy providers, the Texas Public Utilities Commission voted on Thursday to increase the electricity price cap by 50 percent.

    According to The Associated Press, the officials said the growing demand for electricity in the coming years will force producers to create new generating facilities. Although the cap only affects wholesale rates within the jurisdiction of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, several organizations are currently reviewing how the hike will affect homeowners.

    "It's very clear a lot of the public don't understand the structure of the market and what we do here," said commissioner Rolando Pablos. "Energy prosperity leads to economic prosperity. We're doing this for the purpose of ensuring we have a higher quality of life for our citizens. A robust and reliable electric system will help us get there."

    Luckily, Texas residents benefit from energy deregulation laws that allow them to shop around for lower electricity rates. Since the laws were implemented in 2002, about 40 percent of residential consumers have switched energy providers, according to the Public Utilities Commission.