Electric rates in areas of Texas open to customer choice continue to be lower than the national average and the old monopoly prices from before the introduction of competition into the retail electric market.
Despite claims to the contrary from those who would like to see customers lose their choice of energy provider, Texas' energy rates in areas open to choice remain below, not above, the national average. Using the most recent national data from November 2010, the average all-in U.S. electric price was about 11.5¢/kWh. In comparison, many 12-month fixed rates in all areas of Texas open to competition were at or below 9¢/kWh during November 2010, and remain in that low range.
Texas electric rates in areas open to competition are also lower than the last monopoly-set rates from December 2001, before competition began. For example, using January 2011 competitive retail electric provider rates as a comparison, customer choice has led to bill decreases of 20-68% at CenterPoint (Houston) and 22-61% at Oncor (Dallas) versus the last regulated prices as of December 2001, with savings depending on which rate plan the customer may currently be on.
Competition has also driven Texas electric rates in areas open to competition below most of the rates offered by cooperatives and municipal utilities.
For example, at CoServ, the state's second-largest electric cooperative, the residential rate for winter service is 12.9¢/kWh for the first 700 kWh, and the rate is still more than 11¢/kWh for additional kilowatt-hours. These rates also exclude the $10 monthly charge per customer meter, which equates to an additional 1¢/kWh for an average customer using 1,000 kWh per month.
CoServ is a useful example because it serves the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and neighbors areas in the Oncor territory in the Metroplex which are open to customer choice. Since the service areas are so close, pricing comparisons between CoServ and competitive retail electric rates at Oncor are more meaningful, since any differences cannot be dismissed due to unique geography or transmission constraints.
And customers choosing a retail electric provider at Oncor are paying significantly less for electricity than customers at CoServ who do not have a choice. In the Oncor service area, 12-month fixed rates are as low as 8.9¢, a savings of about 20% versus CoServ's rates, and there are a multitude of products at Oncor in the 9¢ range offering significant savings versus CoServ.
The situation is not unique to CoServ, as numerous cooperatives and municipal utilities charge in excess of 10¢/kWh for electricity, while the lowest competitive retail electric provider rates, thanks to competition, are in the 9¢/kWh range, or lower (see Page 98 of the linked PDF, note that the file is 20 MB large).