Renewables

Texans stand to gain the most from competitive marketplace, new survey says

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 10, 2001 — Texans participating in the Texas Electric Choice Pilot Program are more likely to save on their monthly electric bill than customers in other states that offer Electric Choice, according to a national survey published by Wattage Monitor.

The Residential Savings Index offers a snapshot of the lowest actual competitive electricity rates, and estimated monthly savings in several states with competitive electric markets, including New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The index uses graphs to present the data, the analysis of associated trends, and offers consumer tips on a nationwide and regional basis.

According to the survey, Retail Electric Providers (REPs) in Texas are aggressively discounting service to customers in order to establish themselves in the newly competitive market.

Wattage Monitor offers products and services designed to help electric customers make informed decisions when choosing an electric provider. The company compiles research and information about electric service options for consumers and businesses. For more information, including a copy of Wattage Monitor’s Residential Savings Index, visit www.wattagemonitor.com

The Residential Savings Index foresees the greatest customer savings in the Texas-New Mexico Power (TNMP) service territory. A typical TNMP residential customer can expect to save about $21 on their monthly electric bill. Electric customers in Houston and Dallas can expect to save $13 or $14, depending on their choice of electric providers.

Overall, the Residential Savings Index finds that Texas has many of the ingredients necessary for a successful competitive market for retail electric service — an abundant electricity supply, an active wholesale market and electric providers offering competitive rates.

“We’re pleased to see this kind of independent verification of Texas’ approach to restructuring,” said Chairman Max Yzaguirre of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). “We’ve tried our best to avoid problems other states have made, and we’re confident that, over time, a competitive market for retail electric service will result in lower rates for customers and speed the development of new and innovative services.”

State lawmakers enacted legislation during the 1999 session to give Texans more control over their purchase of electricity. The new law allows customers of investor-owned utilities to shop for a REP — the company that provides their electricity — just as they do for other products or services.

Electric Choice gives customers the freedom to choose an electric provider based on what matters most to them, whether it is savings on their electric bill, environmentally friendly power generation, better customer service, or a name they know and trust.

Competition among electric providers is expected to result in lower prices than there would have been in a regulated market, and spur the development of new products and services. The new law also raises environmental standards, requiring old plants to be cleaned up and more power to come from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and water.

The majority of Texans will be able to choose a new REP as of January 1, 2002. In the meantime, up to 5 percent of customers can get a head start on Electric Choice by participating in the Pilot Program. For information on how customers can enroll in the Texas Electric Choice Pilot Program, or for a list of REPs by utility service area, visit www.powertochoose.org or call the toll free answer center at 1-866/PWR-4-TEX.