What’s going on in the world of competitive electricity markets? To find out, I’ve come to Houston, where the Texas Electricity Professionals Association is holding its fall conference. TEPA is a group of retail electricity providers and “ABCs” — aggregators, brokers and consultants — that serve the deregulated-slash-“competitive” Texas power market, the biggest in the United States. Still, it’s not the only one — Taff Tschamler, executive director of KEMA, told the audience that competitive U.S. markets make up about $45 billion, or 600 terawatt-hours of the country’s roughly 3,800 TWhs. That share should rise to about 700 TWhs by 2015, with New England and Mid-Atlantic states included, and Pennsylvania and Ohio moving to open up their power markets more completely. KEMA sees another 1,300 TWhs in the U.S. being “eligible” for a shift to competitive markets, Tschamler said. Of course, with the general public’s concept of power market deregulation mainly being the Enron/California fiasco in 2000 and 2001, deregulation advocates will need to take their message to regulators and customers, and show that deregulation works to lower prices and improve reliability.
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