Electric rates are rising faster than they ever have since Texas deregulated the electricity market in the 1990s, and that could lead to sticker shock for people whose electricity contracts are set to expire soon.
The average going rate per kilowatt-hour in June is 18.48 cents per 1,000 kWh used, according to the state of Texas’ Power to Choose website. That is an increase of 10.5 cents when compared to June 2021, and that would amount to a nearly $80 monthly increase on an electric bill.
“The price of all these ‘must pay’ bills keep going up, whether that is gas, groceries, or now utility bills,” said Tim Morstad, Associate State Director of AARP Texas. “We are looking at a huge increase, about 70% across the deregulated areas of the state, and we are concerned it will become unaffordable.”
The rise in electric rates corresponds to a sharp rise in natural gas prices. Natural gas fuels the power plants that generate more than 40% of the electricity that feeds into the Texas power grid, according to ERCOT.
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Texans who are trying to make ends meet and account for higher energy bills have multiple options if they need assistance.
Eligible households can qualify for financial help from the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program.
If someone has a chronic medical condition that could become life-threatening if the power were to be shut off can apply for Critical Care or Chronic Condition status, according to AARP Texas.