Focus Point - Texas Deregulation

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Yesterday I talked about California's disastrous attempt to deregulate electricity - by letting environmentalists stop the building of new plants, then forcing power companies to buy at market rates while selling to customers whose rates had been frozen.

Texas is doing it differently.

Texas has built 22 new power plants since 1995, with 15 more scheduled to come online by 2002. Even if California decided to build plants, their regulatory-clogged climate means it's a seven-year proposition. In Texas, it takes two to three years.

While California power companies are locked into buying on the volatile daily market, Texas companies can sign long-term contracts that will let them keep prices stable.

So while Texas will have plenty of power, California will endure blackouts.

But here's what I want to know: When the media write about deregulation, will they use Texas as an example, or the misbegotten California experiment.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, Scotland's socialized medicine.