Portland General Electric Co. reported an 18 percent increase in second-quarter earnings, which the utility attributed to favorable power supply operations that were linked to a lower number of retail energy providers active in its service area.

While the news may not be positive for independent electric suppliers in Oregon, it supports that idea that creating a competitive electricity market can lead to lower electricity rates for customers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, total second-quarter revenue increased to $394 million, while its wholesale revenue fell 25 percent as the average price for electricity declined 34 percent, spurred by lower natural gas prices. The company brought in a total profit of of $26 million, or 34 cents per share, up from the $22 million Portland General reported in the same period last year.

Oregon implemented energy deregulation laws on March 1, 2002, and state regulators have since been able to create a competitive energy market. When the laws were implemented Portland General notified its customers that they had the option of switching to a retail energy provider, and that several options for buying electricity were available.