Electricity prices will hit record highs this summer
ERCOT says there will be enough power for everyone, but it won’t be cheap.
According to data from Texas’ Power to Choose website, average retail electricity prices have fallen from 11.19 cents per kilowatt hour at the start of this year to 18.48 cents this month.
The rapidly rising cost of natural gas has driven electricity bills up 70% on top of the $16 billion in debt accumulated during the February 2021 blackouts that killed 200 people.
Deregulated electric utilities only exacerbate the problem.
State legislators opted for a competitive electricity market twenty-two years ago, promising their constituents cheap electricity compared to outdated regulatory systems.
And for a short while, the new system worked pretty well.
For-profit power companies have been unwilling to invest in infrastructure except for a gun to the temple.
Flaws in our aging power grid first showed up in 2011 when cold weather triggered outages in central Texas. The grid warped again in 2021 after another 10 years of pinching. Texans should expect more trouble this summer.
Corporate consolidation continues to make matters worse.
Electricity retailers are buying off each other and offering multiple plans under different brand names to confuse consumers.
“Inflation is everywhere today, and the last thing we need is extra costs running through the system, especially when captured by a handful of parties that haven’t acted in the consumer interest historically. I see an opportunity for big money and not necessarily better results,” said Michael Lee, CEO of Octopus Energy US, a retailer trying to break into the ERCOT market.
Non-renewable energy sources are expensive and unreliable.
Alternatively, wind, solar, and hydropower have no fuel overhead and become cheaper every year.