HOUSTON, Sept. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past summer, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas has been baffled by Retail Energy Providers using pricing gimmicks that dupe Texas consumers into high monthly bills at its Power to Choose website.(1) The PUC of Texas' best solution was to tweak some sort settings, limit the number of REP plans, and offer a "series of user-friendly PDFs and videos intended to guide and inform the customer."(2) The chairman has even recently said that if the PUCT can't figure out a solution, then the commission may just shut down the Power to Choose website.(3)
One of the benchmarks of a successful free market is the range of choice provided to customers. Choice can be viewed both in terms of the number of firms active in the market as well as the variety of products those firms offer to consumers. In the first decade of retail electric deregulation in Texas, the market experienced dramatic changes in both metrics. In 2002, residential customers in the Dallas-Fort area could choose between 10 retail electric providers offers a total of 11 price plans. By the end of 2012, there were 45 retail electric providers offering 258 different price plans to residential customers in that market. Similar increases in the number of retail electric providers and available plans have been realized in other deregulated electricity market areas with the state.
The PUC’s mission is to protect customers, foster competition, and promote high-quality infrastructure. In addition to regulating the states electric utilities and implementing legislation, the PUC offers Texas residents assistance in resolving consumer complaints. If you have a complaint with your electricity company you can go to the official PUC website and file an informal complaint.