Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Magic of Free Markets

Texas deregulated electricity several years ago. As a loyal customer, I stuck with my provider as they guaranteed to beat some benchmark by 10%. Yet as the years went by, I found myself paying over 22 cents per kilowatt hour with a summer bill totalling over $350. When my winter charges didn't come close to going below $100 (with gas heat), I did what the Texas legislature envisioned. I shopped for electricity.

I got a teaser rate at 10.5 cents a kilowatt hour for 30 days, before having to sign a long term contract to lock in 12.5 cents. While we had a cool Texas summer, such a blessing, today's AP article on winter heating frosted my behind. It stated electrical heat would go up 2% to 10.3 cents per kilowatt hour, according to the EPA. It's been years since I saw 10.3 cents as the rate on my bill. It's also been that long since Texas deregulated. This is what America seems bound and determined to spread throughout the world, competitive free markets that are neither competitive nor free? (I just checked the Texas Electrical Choice website and it turns out all providers for my area are above average, welcome to Lake Wobegon!)

It surely has nothing to do with the people selecting their leaders. Our good friends the Saudis just named a special group to ensure monarchical succession, and it has to stay within the blood line! The Palestinian people selected leaders which promptly got shunned by the "free world". The Iranian leader is elected in their Islamic Republic. That they chose a leader equal in pathology to our American President, shows people have much in common. Let's hope their competition actually drives down prices like Texas promised. Instead, I got higher bills and a cell phone company like "early cancellation penalty". Funny, my internet provider just did the same thing....