Texas Republican Lobbyist News: Electricity Deregulation Proving Costly to Texans
The following is a digest of an article that originally was published at the Texas Observer. Texas Republican Lobbyist is publishing this summary as a public service for Texas politicians, politically active individuals, Texas state government officials, and all other interested parties.
The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power reports that energy deregulation has taken a massive chunk of Texas’s tax dollars, about 10.4 billion to be exact. The Texas Observer has published multiple graphs to accompany these statistics. Massive price increases on natural gas between 2005 and 2008 also represent a huge portion of these tax dollars. The free market has been struggling greatly without government regulation on electricity and natural gas. Texas has experienced the greatest amount of price increases in the most deregulated states, with a 47.9% increase between 1999 and 2012.
“…that would seem to be a vindication of deregulation and the competitive forces it’s supposed to unleash. But city-owned utilities like Austin Energy and CPS Energy are still regulated. Comparing prices among deregulated retail electric providers to regulated ones finds that prices rose faster in deregulated markets.”
Government regulation should certainly be kept in check and maybe isn’t always needed, but perhaps it is necessary in parts of the energy field. This could help protect the environment, and keep prices low for consumers. It could be possible that the loss of regulation has merely spurred a difficult transition, but are taxpayers willing to see it through to find out? Already 10.4 billion taxpayers have been lost in just a little over a decade. To be certain, deregulation thus far has not helped costs, spending, or consumers.
The deregulation of the retail electric market began on January 1st 2002, and prices have been steadily increasing ever since. Residential electricity bills have seen these rises first hand. Regulation and the lack of regulation are a fine balance. Too much or too little of each can yield negative results. The market must have room to breathe so that competition can drive businesses towards providing products and/or services that the consumers want/need. At the same time, the market and big business must be kept in check to avoid cut throat business tactics and some of the issues that can follow too little regulation, as shown with Texas’s present electric costs.
Read the original article here.