Last year saw increased wholesale and retail prices in Texas due to low reserve margins and hot weather. This year will bring more of the same. Learn how reserve margin, weather, and operating reserves will all play a role in driving up 2019 Texas electricity rates.
Breeze Energy customers got a rude surprise on May 30, 2018. They received notification that their retail electric provider had gone out of business. They would now be served at a high market rate by the Provider of Last Resort, or POLR. What would you do if you received such a notice? And what is the risk of it happening to you?
Texas electricity customers face historically high electricity prices this summer. The rising energy rates are not so much a result of the cost of natural gas, the primary commodity used to generate electricity, but are a result of increased demand and anticipated shortages in supply. What does this mean for customers on variable rate, month to month electricity plans? High, high, high electricity rates for the dog days of summer. Who is most at risk? Prepaid electricity customers and customers on holdover rates from expired electricity contracts.
If you’ve shopped for an electricity plan in Texas recently, you’ve probably noticed that rates are rising. In fact, some of the energy rates for Texas plans have increased over 30% so far in 2018 and will continue to rise as the summer approaches.
What’s contributing to this rise? In short, it’s simple economics. Understanding the market forces at play in ERCOT will help you make an informed decision about your energy needs going into the summer and avoid a painful utility bill.
For most people living in states open to electric competition, the year deregulation was adopted marked a complete turnaround of electricity as they knew it. Instead of only having one utility to fulfill both supply and delivery of electricity, consumers got the power to choose their own supplier. Providers offering electricity plans and better electricity rates flooded the market and suddenly there were hundreds of choices for consumers.
Sadly, the windfall of electric choice is not available to all who live in Texas. Electric cooperatives (“co-ops”) and municipally-owned utilities (“munis”) are exempt from participating in deregulation. Additionally, Texas law includes exceptions for certain investor-owned utilities to delay participation in retail competition because of lack of competition in their wholesale market and/or their lack of being part of ERCOT.
What does this mean for you?