Recharge Texas is back to their usual tricks and painting deregulated electricity in Texas in a negative light. Even worse is they have managed to wrangle a position blogging for the Houston Chronicle’s Fuel Fix blog, which I’m concerned will give them further false credibility.
Anyway, Recharge Texas is once again claiming that Texans are paying more in deregulated areas than they in regulated areas. The problem with this argument is that the numbers they use to support their theory are supplied by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Now, don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing incorrect about the EIA’s numbers, other than they’re typically 2 years old at any given the time. The problem is that the EIA can only compare average regulated electricity rates to average deregulated electricity rates wholesale. What that means is that deregulated averages must include all of the people who don’t shop for electricity, don’t leverage the market choices to their financial advantage, and the people who still don’t know or understand they have electric choice.
Believe it or not, almost half of Texans in deregulated areas are paying as much as 50% more than the competitive market rates for electricity. Because of this the EIA information is a poor source for comparison because it skews deregulated rates high. Recharge Texas then uses these inflated numbers to make a blanket statement that deregulated electricity is more expensive than in regulated areas. When the fact of the matter is that deregulated electricity rates are substantially cheaper in deregulated areas for people who actually shop and compare.
Basically Recharge Texas is painting all of deregulation in a bad light simply because some people choose to pay a premium or don’t take advantage of the deals available. It is the equivalent of saying the price of food is more expensive in Texas than elsewhere because everyone chooses to shop exclusively at Whole Foods or Central Market, or that purchasing cars in Texas is more expensive because everyone purposefully chooses to pay sticker price without haggling.
Why am I bringing this up when the title of this post is discussing Entergy bills? Well, I stumbled across this article, and it is yet another example of a regulated utility about to raise rates. In this instance, the rates to be raised are already substantially higher than deregulated rates. In the month of October, the average bill for a customer with Entergy that used 1,000 kWh of electricity was $114.69.
For comparison, and you will have to take my word for it because it required me to do a lot of math, the average electricity bill in October for all the deregulated areas of Texas was $103.89 cents. And this includes all of the inflated bills from people who pay 50% over market prices. Entergy is ALREADY almost $11 more expensive compared to deregulated areas. If you add $14 to Entergy’s bill, it would be more than $24 higher than the monthly average in deregulated areas of Texas. If Entergy only gets half of what they’re asking for, it is still more expensive than all of deregulated Texas by about $18.
Other regulated areas more expensive than the average cost of the deregulated areas of Texas include El Paso and Victoria. And I’ll also include Austin considering Austin Energy is 250 million dollars in debt because they have refused to raise rates in well over a decade. They’ll be more expensive than deregulated areas very shortly while still be sporting a quarter billion dollar debt.
So chalk up Entergy, which services a massive chunk of East Texas customers, as another regulated area with massively higher bills than areas with deregulated Texas electricity. And that is even with all the high bills from indifferent shoppers that inflate the picture of deregulation. What would those numbers look like if everyone exercised electric choice?