WASHINGTON & AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Energy Marketers Association (NEM) convened its 2016 Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable yesterday in Austin, Texas, featuring the architects and principals responsible for the creation and implementation of electric choice for Texas consumers, including current and former Texas regulators and legislators as well as Presidents and CEOs of major energy and technology companies that serve Texas electricity consumers.
“NEM is honored to recognize the remarkable success of the Texas electric market at its Fall Policy Leadership Roundtable. This success is attributable to SB7, the law establishing the building blocks of the Texas electric market structure, and the strong leadership of the Texas PUC that has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to competitive markets. Texas designed the market so that incumbent utilities do not provide default service, retail electricity providers have a direct relationship with their customers, and smart meter data is leveraged to provide innovative products. We look forward to the continued growth of this market and the adoption of like policies and market structures in other jurisdictions that spur the development of other retail energy markets and provide more choices for consumers,” said Craig Goodman, President of NEM.
Donna Nelson, current Chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), reviewed the history of the competitive electric market in Texas. Nelson explained that her decisions have been guided by the goal of providing regulatory and legal certainty as well as a belief that, “competitive markets work better than regulated markets and bring customers the most innovation, at the lowest prices.” Nelson noted that as of March 2016, Texas had achieved a 92% customer switching rate, equating to approximately 7 million customers shopping for electricity. Commenting on the savings realized by shopping consumers, Nelson said that Commission analysis of recent twelve-month fixed rate retail products showed that consumers are realizing in the range of a 60% inflation-adjusted reduction in rates from the last regulated rate in 2001. But, she noted, “price is not the only indicator of success.” Nelson gave a sampling of the numerous products available in the Texas electric marketplace as evidence that, “when you let the competitive market work, the customers’ preferences drive the products in the market.”
“Texas consumers have saved over $33 billion over the period of 2010 to 2015,” said Darin Cook, CEO and Co-founder of Infinite Energy. Jere Thompson, Jr., CEO and Co-founder of Ambit Energy, echoing the sentiment overwhelmingly expressed by retail energy providers in attendance, stated that, “Texas is best,” recounting how a retailer’s direct relationship with its customers in this market allows it to offer differentiated products and superior customer service.
Barry Smitherman, former Chair of the Texas PUC and the Texas Railroad Commission, offered additional insight into the success of the Texas market, stemming from an unwavering commitment to competitive markets; the absence of political considerations; mid-course rule corrections consistent with competitive market principles; and continual investments in infrastructure.
The National Energy Marketers Association (NEM) is a national, non-profit trade association representing wholesale and retail marketers of natural gas, electricity, as well as energy and financial related products, services, information and advanced technologies throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Additional information about NEM is available from NEM's Washington, DC headquarters at (202) 333-3288 or its website at www.energymarketers.com.