The competition that allows most Texans to choose their electricity provider has resulted in electric rates that are lower than the old "regulated" rates from a decade ago, an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle confirms.® has repeatedly shown, through a variety of metrics, how Texas electric rates have gone down thanks to competition among electricity providers.

The op-ed in the Chronicle adds to this evidence.

"Here are some numbers for those who buy electricity in CenterPoint Energy's service area: Last year it was common to find a one-year fixed price offer for electricity from a retail provider at 9 cents per kilowatt hour; variable price offers were as low as 5.2 cents per kilowatt hour," the op-ed reports.

"Do you think consumers were better off in 2001, before the competitive market? Well, the regulated price per kilowatt hour in CenterPoint's service area was 10.4 cents then," the op-ed notes.

"Factoring in inflation, the equivalent today would be 13.6 cents. Essentially, consumers today can buy electricity on a fixed-term contract for 44 percent less than the prices of 2001. Since 2001, has your cable bill gone down? Your phone bill? How about groceries? Taxes?"

"The fact is that retail electric prices in Texas have dropped steadily over the past few years even as the prices of other commodities, such as gasoline, crude oil and coal, have risen," the op-ed continues. "While natural gas prices are currently low relative to recent years, the low electric prices in Texas' competitive market are not just the result of falling natural gas prices. Prices are low in Texas' competitive market even though the Henry Hub spot price for natural gas is about 40 percent higher in January 2013 than it was in December 2001."

The op-ed finally notes that certain offers from competing electric providers in areas open to choice, such as Dallas and Houston, are actually lower than the rates at municipal utilities in Austin and San Antonio -- where customers don't have a right to choose their electric provider.