States like Texas and Illinois that have deregulated their electric markets are counting on informed consumers to find their own best prices. However, there are a couple of reasons why this doesn’t work.
A little more than a year ago, I was knocking on doors in a Houston neighborhood to survey homeowners about their electric purchasing experiences. One gentleman in particular stands out. He was retired, friendly and very willing to boast about the “best” price his contact had “hooked him up” with. Perhaps too quickly, I asked if he’d share his per kilowatt hour price with me. Hesitantly he let me know that he was paying .14 cents per kilowatt hour. THAT IS ALMOST DOUBLE WHAT HE SHOULD BE PAYING!
Unfortunately where the system breaks down is that consumers are busy and finding the right price is not a straightforward task. Purchasers often just have to rely on trust in what marketers are telling them and sadly those marketers are not always honest.