Texas Cracks Down on Suspicious Power Company Practices

Feb 16, 2016

Credit Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Some Texas electricity plans are deceptively more pricey than they should be, reports The Texas Tribune. And now Texas regulators say they’re ready to crack down on power companies who try to fleece their customers.

Donna Nelson, chairman of the Public Utility Commission, explained at a meeting last week: “They’ve got all these tricky little things in their prices . . . that make it really difficult for customers.” In 2002 Texas deregulated the electricity market across most of the state. Since then, consumer advocates have complained that per-kilowatt price listings can deceive ratepayers.

Fees and other provisions are sometimes hidden in fine print. For example, a power company might offer a cheap rate, then jack up the price without warning using language hidden in the fine print. Nelson complained: “Whatever practice we put in place to try to end the confusion, [companies] always find a way around” it.