Posted by: marilynshowalter | June 17, 2007

ABACUS: Did they use one?

A recent study using the acronym “ABACUS” claims that Texas and New York are the best examples of effective competitive electricity markets. Sponsored by the Alliance for Retail Choice, the authors selected 28 states and two provinces, and ranked them from best to worst, basing their assessment on factors such as number of providers, switching rates, nature of default service, etc.

Interestingly, price to consumers was not one of the ABACUS assessment factors. What if it had been?

Here are the total delivered retail electricity prices of ABACUS’s “best” five states (the blue line–TX, NY, MD, ME, and MA), compared to the prices in ABACUS’s chosen bottom or “worst” five states (the black line–WA, NV, NC, LA, and GA). As you can see, ABACUS’s top-ranked states are also top-priced, and the gap has widened.


ABACUS Top Five v Bottom Five States

ABACUS used only 28 states in its study. Over at PPI’s website, I have tracked prices in all states, dividing them into “regulated” and “deregulated” (CA, CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, MI, NH, NJ, RI & TX). Here, for example, are the total delivered retail electricity prices to consumers (all classes) in Texas–compared to prices in the regulated states:


And here are New York prices compared to prices in the regulated states:


For many more permutations, including price-comparisons for residential, commercial, and industrial classes, go PPI’s states map and aggregated charts.



  1. Interesting data, excellent charts!

  2. Statewide NY retail price data may mask what happened to Con Edison customers, who have been most exposed to NYISO rates because Con Edison buys a lot of spot market power and is allowed to flow through fluctuations monthly.

    In contrast, residential rates for upstate NY utilities (e.g., National Grid) were constrained in long term rate plans, one utility did not divest (RG&E), and one utility (NYSEG) fought the PSC to keep fixed rate service.

    This chart
    shows how customers of Con Edison, which most fully implemented the restructuring policies, experienced higher and spiking rates.

    Also, note the experience of large industrial customers being more exposed to mandatory flow-through of NYISO hourly pricing since 2002:

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