PBS' 'Inside E Street' Takes On the Broken Promises of Electric Deregulation in Texas
Some 10 years ago, commodities and energy company Enron led a successful lobbying effort to deregulate Texas electricity markets. A free-market, we were told, would foster competition, keep power prices low and improve customer service. Yet over the last decade, none of these promises have been kept. That's the subject of a recent episode of Inside E Street a PBS program that, sadly, doesn't air in our market. Happily, up above is the segment that deals with Texas' deregulation. Enjoy.
While power prices have fallen right alongside natural gas prices in the last couple of years. But cheaper utility bills have come at the expense of grid reliability. ERCOT predicts we won't have enough electricity by 2013 because no one is making enough money to build power plants. As we've reported before, they plan to remedy this by making electricity more expensive (check out last week's cover story for a lengthier discussion).
Over the course of deregulation, power prices have been on average nearly 9 percent higher than the national average. As Geoffrey Gay, general counsel for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, says in the above segment, we'd have saved $11 billion if we had simply remained at the national average.