Champion Energy Wins 3rd Straight JD Power & Associates Award

Late last week it was announced that Champion Energy won the 2012 JD Power & Associates survey for customer satisfaction. This marks the third consecutive ear that Champion Energy has won the award, which is an outstanding achievement and really demonstrates their commitment to customer service and satisfaction. Champion Energy is the first electricity provider to win the award for three consecutive years.

Champion Energy got perfect scores on 3 of the 4 grading criteria that JD Power measured, which are Billing & Payment, Price, Communications, and Customer Service. Their total score was 756 out of a possible 800, improving on their 2011 score of 745. The Texas electricity industry average score was 678, which Champion exceeded by 78 points. Again, congratulations to Champion Energy.

Also performing well was relative market newcomer, Bounce Energy, which was founded in 2008. Bounce Energy was the only other Texas electricity provider to score the top 5 point ranking with a total score was 745. Bounce’s performance is particularly impressive when you consider that they are the youngest company on the survey to be included. Additionally, this was just their second year to be included in the survey at all, finishing last year with 681 points. So Bounce Energy also deserves a well-deserved congratulations for moving into a very strong 2nd place finish in just their second year in the JD Power survey.

StarTex Power had another great showing, finishing third with a total of 729 points. Also of interest to me was that both market incumbents and big name providers Reliant Energy and TXU Energy finished with marks below the industry average with scores 669 and 663, respectively.

The survey results weren’t the only things I found interesting in the press release, which also spoke about the general satisfaction with Texas electricity customers when compared to consumer satisfaction in regulated markets without choice. I’ll take a closer look at that this afternoon in a separate article. Full results below.

Texas Independent Market Monitor Response To Market Irregularities June 26th, 2012

Since I released my article questioning strange behavior in the ERCOT electricity market on June 29th I’ve been receiving a lot of attention. I had a very long follow-up call with the Independent Market Monitor (IMM), Dan Jones, and some of his associates. Additionally I was contacted by a reporter at Platts who wanted my comments on some of the responses my article had elicited from the Texas electricity and energy community. And of course, yesterday Potomac Economics, the company that serves as/with Dan Jones as the Independent Market Monitor, released their formal response to my blog posting. That report was subsequently picked up by the Houston Chronicle and Fuel Fix.

I have a couple minor issues with the report that was received and some of the subsequent articles written, but for the most part it was great to get detailed answers to some of the questions I posed in my original article.

One thing I did find amusing was that the subsequent article in the Chronicle refers to me as an anonymous blogger. I’m not sure if that was an effort to malign my credibility or not, and perhaps I’m misunderstanding some nuance here, but I suppose I didn’t really consider myself that anonymous. I freely gave Dan Jones my name and position when we first spoke, and I followed up his request for my contact information when he inquired through Texas Electricity Ratings so we could have a follow up discussion. The reporter from Platts had no difficulty finding my name contact information, either. The Chronicle never inquired my actual name, or even could be bothered with a simple Google search, apparently, so I suppose that makes me anonymous in their eyes. I suppose I’m glad that other people didn’t seem so quick to dismiss my questions simply because they thought I was “anonymous.”

On a more serious note, after speaking with Dan and his colleagues, it appears that I was absolutely mistaken in my article when I said ERCOT might have violated protocol in their late notices for the Day Ahead Market (DAM) report and a lack of notice. They were, by all accounts, 100% in line with their protocols and requirements for sending out notice that the DAM report would be late, albeit extremely late. So I was absolutely mistaken in that regard and will own up to it. ERCOT got it right, and I got it wrong.

Additionally, I want to say that when all of the reports have come back as resoundingly as they have stating that no one believes there was any manipulation, I believe them. I’m surprised at just how quickly they came to that confident a determination and got a definitive report back stating with certainty they didn’t feel there was any manipulation, but then again that is what these folks do for a living and everyone seems certain there was no manipulation. And their explanations make sense. So that is great news.

Now that being said, while I was reading through the report, there is also some other good news. Specifically this line that begins at the bottom of page 1 of the IMM’s report:

one inquiry on June 28, 2012 was followed with a public posting on an online “blog” on June 29, 2012, which generated additional interest and questions from market participants, interested stakeholders, and elected and appointed officials.

I consider this to be great news. First, the fact that I wasn’t the only person asking questions, including other “stakeholders” and political officials indicates to me that there are people from all different circles monitoring how the Texas electricity market behaves. Hopefully this kind of attention from lots of different and unrelated parties act as an additional barrier for any group that might ever consider any kind of market manipulation.

Additionally, whether the response by the IMM was a direct response to my article or not, or if it was just an easy illustration that the IMM used to answer questions, it doesn’t change the fact that the article I wrote was cited heavily in his report to ERCOT. It makes me feel better that people like myself with questions can voice them in a manner that will promote honest, detailed responses and conversation from the people responsible for monitoring and policing the Texas electricity grid and marketplace. Its vital people trust the marketplace for deregulated electricity to work, not just in Texas, but everywhere.

My Experience With a Smart Meter

I lived in an apartment for years that had a smart meter, and despite the fact that I write about them regularly on this website, I never really paid much attention to them myself. However, I recently moved into a home with a lot more electricity usage. On top of that, I saw this quote in an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram last week, which I found really fascinating:

Continue reading “My Experience With a Smart Meter” »

ERCOT Price Market Cap Changes Appear Politically Motivated

I’ve written before about the potential crisis in Texas due to the lack of new generation plants. Basically, not many new energy generation plants are being built, or even planned, at a time when Texas’s population continues to explode and our electricity needs along with it. The problem is that because of the deregulated electricity system, all new plants must be built by private investors instead of by taxing customers or raising electric rates. And right now the low cost of natural gas and the lack of guaranteed profits have investors leery of risking the construction of new plants in Texas.

A commonly referenced solution Continue reading “ERCOT Price Market Cap Changes Appear Politically Motivated” »

Examining a Few Texas Electricity Ratings Customer Reviews

I get tons of customer reviews through Texas Electricity Ratings, and one of the most consistent issues I see are negative reviews based on misconceptions, or in some cases, a lack of understanding of how the deregulated electricity market works. Since a big part of what I do is to try and help educate people on how the market works I’m going to paste some reviews that I didn’t let through the website for various reasons, which I will explain at length below.

These first two reviews go together:

Continue reading “Examining a Few Texas Electricity Ratings Customer Reviews” »

Texas Electricity Ratings Updates Rankings on 2/22/12

I just wanted to make a quick post alerting everyone that I’ve re-calculated the rankings on my website, Texas Electricity Ratings. The rankings are compiled using a number of independent sources including current electric rates, the most recent PUC complaint statistics, Better Business Bureau rankings, the customer reviews submitted through the website, and more. Continue reading “Texas Electricity Ratings Updates Rankings on 2/22/12” »

Who is The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power (TCAP)?

Anyone who visits my blog regularly has probably seen that I’ve been talking a lot about the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power (TCAP) lately. TCAP recently published their “history” of deregulated electricity in the state of Texas, and there are several things about their self-proclaimed history I find questionable, which I’ve documented at great length in the four posts below: Continue reading “Who is The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power (TCAP)?” »

Austin Contributor Backwards on Electric Deregulation

I was perusing an article from Carol Penny, a local contributor for the Austin American Statesman, and I couldn’t help but think one thing: at least the article was published under the “Opinion” category. Sheesh. Opinions don’t need factual support, so she has that going for her, I suppose… Continue reading “Austin Contributor Backwards on Electric Deregulation” »

Texas Electricity News and Links

Here are a few interesting articles I’ve stumbled across today, none of which are worth an individual post. However, I figured I’d post them all here as a link dump for anyone interested in the topics. Enjoy:

AEP

AEP has been busy. While I don’t have any new updates from their case in Texas regarding retail electricity, it looks like they’re working to separate some of their generation assets in Ohio. This could be paving the way for them to move into retail electricity in Ohio, which is on the horizon.

AEP To Split Up Ohio Assets

Interestingly enough, AEP is also seeking a license from the US Department of Energy to sell electricity to Mexico. Yes, you read that correctly. This is interesting because Texas is currently under their optimal energy reserve percentage, and we had a horrific energy shortage last summer with another one on the horizon this summer, and yet AEP wants to sell energy to Mexico.

AEP Looks to Sell Electricity To Mexico

And Paul Ring at Energy Choice Matters has written an article based on AEP’s comments claiming that AEP is not, in fact, looking to start a national brand for retail electricity.

AEP Not Seeking National Electricity Brand

Texas Energy Generation Capacity Will Hit Fever Pitch

No one who has read this blog or visited my Facebook Page is any stranger to the ongoing discussion about Texas’s shortages in generation resources. Well, with summer starting to bear down on Texas, expect this conversation and topic to come even more frequently. This is because Texas still hasn’t recovered from the drought damage and record heat wave from last summer, and the same drought is still in effect and looks to have a repeat performance ready for us in Summer 2012.

Texans warned to expect outages if 2011 Summer Repeats for 2012

House Panel Seeks Ways to Boost Electricity Generation

That’s it everyone, enjoy your Monday.

Texas Electricity, TCAP, and a Biased “History” – Part Four

Yes, I’m still writing blog posts about TCAP’s recent release of their “history” of deregulated electricity in Texas which they have been still pushing out heavily through PR channels the past couple weeks. I know I initially said I didn’t want to do a 10 part series on this topic, but I never said it wouldn’t take me four or five sections just for me to get through the broad strokes. Which brings us to Part Four. As things stand, I’ve gone through the “Facts” the document claims to examine as well as their “Major Findings” section. In this post I’m going to evaluate their “Recommendations” section. And after that I may or may not write a couple posts looking at some of their more hilarious pieces of “data,” as well as a closer look at TCAP the organization.

Continue reading “Texas Electricity, TCAP, and a Biased “History” – Part Four” »