Who made the right choice with electricity in Texas, the 15 or the 85 percent?

Pratt on TexasFor the past three years, Lubbock’s municipal utility, “LP&L has increased its base rate 5.75 percent to fund the projected $333 million worth of capital improvements the utility plans in the near future..,” contained a story headlined:  “Expect to pay more in taxes, fees next year.”

“Fiscal year 2017-18 will be the fourth year of the rate adjustments, and the budget calls for a 5 percent increase, not 5.75 percent,” a Lubbock Power & Light spokesman was quoted as saying in the AJ story by Matt Dotray. (Apparently the city’s ratepayers are supposed to be delighted they’ll only get stuck with a 5 percent rate increase as opposed to the planned 5.75 percent increase!)

I pointed out in July that only 15 percent of Texans live where they can only buy electric power from a sole provider such as a municipal utility.

It’s hard for those hostage to municipal utilities to believe that 85 percent of Texans have a competitive market for their electricity needs which includes price competition.

It’s hard for those hostage to municipal utilities to believe that 85 percent of Texans have a competitive market for their electricity needs which includes price competition. A monopoly is all many of that 15 percent know so they don’t demand the end of the old local municipal monopoly model.

Lubbock citizens had their city power firm buy out a private sector competitor and the first thing the utility did, aside from management scandals, was to embark on a many-year rate increase on its citizen owners.

“Between 2006 and 2015, the last year for which data is available, residential electric prices for Texans who live in a competitive market decreased by 17.4 percent, while prices increased by 5.5 percent in other areas,” the Texas Tribune reported this summer.

residential electric prices for Texans who live in a competitive market decreased by 17.4 percent, while prices increased by 5.5 percent in other areas.

So who made the right decision?

Areas like Lubbock keeping a monopoly utility tied-in to the political structure or, those who have seen a decade of rate decreases and have market choice?

Of interest: Texas municipal utility OKs CEO’s pay in excess of $700K – San Antonio Express-News

Comments

  1. Elizabeth Padgett says:

    I think LP & L has been used by city leaders and developers for their own slush fund for many years. How much of the utility work downtown in preparation for the never ending redevelopment is being carried by taxpayers. Then, of course, we have to be prepared for the multi-million dollar installation of smart meters which is just another control mechanism by the utility company.

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