Report says Texas electricity rate soar

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rates have skyrocketed higher than any other state with open competition in the decade since Texas deregulated its retail electricity market.

That's according to a report commissioned by the nonprofit Cities Aggregation Power Project coalition of Texas municipalities.

The report released today is based on numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It says residential electricity rates rose 64 percent between 1999 and 2007. Before that, Texans paid rates that were well below the national average.

The Legislature passed a sweeping deregulation law in 1999 that sought to break down electric monopolies and remove strict government control over retail rates. The idea was to allow competitive market forces to drive down prices. The sponsor of the legislation, former Sen. David Sibley, acknowledges rates have gone up but says he still considers the bill a success.

Sibley now lobbies for power companies and others. He blames the hikes on increased natural gas prices and says Texas is far too dependent on natural gas. He says Texans would see lower rates if it diversified to coal, nuclear and other energy sources.

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(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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