Texas Starts Power Deregulation, but Not Like California

The largest attempt in the United States to deregulate an electricity market came into force in Texas on New Year. The move comes on the heels of similar attempts in California, where deregulation has been partly reversed.

AUSTIN, Texas, US, 2002-01-11 [] Deregulation, which is called ‘restructuring’ in Texas to make it different from California, allows residential and commercial customers to choose their electricity provider. “We have spent the last seven months testing the system and making sure it was ready,” says Thomas Noel of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the organization that will implement deregulation. Municipally-owned utilities, such as San Antonio City Public Service and Austin Electric, are exempt from the measure, but the city councils which manage them are expected to join the initiative within a year. There are several differences between the Texas deregulation and the one which led to blackouts and skyrocketing electricity costs in California, officials emphasize. Texas enters the experiment with a 20 percent daily surplus of electricity generation, while California was a net importer of power.