Texas has been one of the most important proving grounds for deregulated electricity providers, since it opened the market for competition in 2002. Kate Rowland of Intelligent Utility notes that the policy has created a noticeable shift in the attitude of Texas electricity consumers.
Rowland noted an exchange at an electricity conference panel where a speaker and audience member paused to compare electricity rates. She suggests the scene illustrates the growing importance that the electricity deregulation has placed on electricity providers' relationship with their customers.
With little or no choice in service, electricity providers' only concern was with keeping costs low, but the introduction of competition has spurred the creation of information sharing and educational services. TXU Energy, a Texas electricity provider, has introduced MyEnergy Dashboard and Personal Energy Advisor to encourage customers to stay on top of their electricity usage.
Chartwell's Industry Insights notes that app development and customer interaction programs such as this likely offer the key to encouraging greater involvement in electricity usage. Making comparing electricity prices and usage a simple, accessible process lowers the barriers for customer engagement that were traditionally presented by paper bills and call-centers.