North Texas

Big Confusion Over Retail Electric Choices

State regulators to review 'Power To Choose' complaints Thursday

Texas utility regulators Thursday will consider complaints over confusion surrounding the website.

Since 2002, most Texas electric customers have had the option of choosing their electric provider. More than 50 companies current offer service in North Texas.

The website is the primary place where the Texas Public Utility Commission offers the options.

The Dallas Morning News Consumer Watchdog Dave Lieber said customers have big complaints about 1-cent per kilowatt offers that appear on the site.

"The terms and conditions of these 1-cent hoaxes are so amazing and extraordinary and complicated and crazy that the average person is never going to figure it out, and not going to ever pay 1 cent," Lieber said. "This right here is deceptive advertising, and the PUC realizes that they have been gamed, and this is a crisis. Newcomers are moving to Texas. Thousands are moving here every month, and they go, 'Wow, 1-cent rate,' and then they get their electric bill and it's hardly that."

Lieber encouraged readers to write to the Public Utility Commission and he has a stack of the letters they also forwarded to him.

There is talk of doing away with the website, but most of the consumer letters want the rules changed and the site maintained so it serves the intended purpose.

Lieber said the PUC may not reach a final conclusion at Thursday's meeting.

"It's a long process but, in the end, we might all be able to shop in a more fair and equitable way," he said.

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