Texas heat sends energy bills soaring

Marketplace Staff Aug 27, 2009
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Texas heat sends energy bills soaring

Marketplace Staff Aug 27, 2009
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: If you think you’re dealing with a long, hot summer, try this number on for size: “57.” That’s how many days the temperature’s climbed above 100 degrees in San Antonio, Texas, this year. And that record-breaking heatwave is cooking up some high-energy bills. From Texas Public Radio, David Martin Davies reports.


David Martin Davies: In Texas, the summer of 2009 will be remembered for high temperatures and high-power bills.

RANDY CHAPMAN: We’re seeing record prices largely because of high consumption with people having to run the air conditioners just to keep cool. Sometimes 24 hours a day.

Randy Chapman of the Texas Legal Services Center says many of the state’s power plants burn natural gas and now natural gas is cheap. So then why are Texas energy bills so expensive?

TERRY HADLEY: It’s a little like the weather, the climate is not exactly the same all over Texas and nether are electricity prices.

That’s Terry Hadley, of the Texas Public Utility Commission. He says the power grid in cities like Houston and Dallas are unregulated, and competition drives down prices.

But Austin and San Antonio are still regulated. Regulation was a good thing last year when natural prices were high. But during this hot summer customers are stuck with soaring bills. Randy Chapman says 10 percent of Texas consumers are behind on their power bills.

In San Antonio I’m David Martin Davies for Marketplace.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.