The joys of market based, deregulated electricity…

Overnight Thompson’s price per kilowatt-hour went from 11.8 cents with the now-defunct retailer National Power to 31.7 cents with CPL Retail Energy. During the 19 days last month he had to wait before he was switched to a lower priced plan, he ran up a $385 bill.

Top wholesale power rates lead to jolts | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

You have to love a system where the contracted price you pay for power can be manipulated by the producers to drive out competition and screw the customer at one time…

On a number of occasions in recent months, power from Newgulf, operated by Houston-based Suez Energy, has been sold at the highest rate allowed by state law, $2,250 per megawatt-hour, according to data released by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator. That includes June 2, when Thompson was facing his highest rates.

Suez acknowledges the price it bid into the wholesale market was well above where that market typically trades — in the $100 to $200 range on most days.

But the Newgulf plant can only operate for about 800 hours per year because of environmental regulations and needs to recoup its costs in a relatively short period. The bids were only accepted for short periods, too, for a few 15-minute intervals.

And it’s those 15 minute high bids that are manipulating a system that was supposed to save the ratepayers money…You really have to love Enron economics.

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