LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Competition in electric markets has worked

FILE - This Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 file photo shows power lines in Houston. The electric grid manager for most of Texas issued an electricity conservation watch Tuesday, April 13, 2021 appealing to customers to conserve electricity despite weather conditions typical for spring. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

I am writing to you in response to the March 3, 2021, opinion article of Mr. Larry Ford in regard to the electricity crisis in Texas and Mr. Ford’s attempt to link that situation to North Carolina.  Unlike Mr. Ford, the town of which I am mayor and I do have experience with open markets in electricity. To say the least, Mr. Ford is mistaken in his gloom-and-doom interpretation of electric reliability and rates for small consumers.   

Wholesale power markets were opened to competition with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1995. That legislation allowed wholesale customers, which are defined as those entities that buy power supplies and re-sell the power to its customers/citizens, to shop the open market for power supplies.  

In 1998, Black Creek, Lucama and Stantonsburg, each of which have less than 1,500 total customers, went into the open wholesale power market for electricity to procure lower cost electric supplies for our towns. In 1999 Sharpsburg joined the other towns and also bought power in the open market. 

In doing so, each town cut its wholesale cost of power by over 50%. In turn, we cut our retail rates by between 25% and 35%. A little over three years ago, our three towns went back into the open power markets and signed a contract with Carolina Power Partners, which operates a 475 MW electric-generating plant in Kings Mountain, N.C., to serve our power supply needs.  Through that agreement, each of our towns cut retail rates by 9% and have kept those rates flat since 2018.   

Contrast this rate cut with the 14.3% rate increase requested by Duke Energy Progress in 2019.  In addition to the low rates, our towns have not suffered any degradation in reliability, again undercutting the claims made by Mr. Ford in this op-ed to your publication. 

There is rhetoric and there is fact. What I have presented above is fact. Competition in the electric markets has worked well for Black Creek, Lucama, Sharpsburg, Stantonsburg and our citizens.  

Sincerely, 

Coley Rhodes 

Mayor  

Town of Stantonsburg 

 

Robert Williams, Jr. 

Mayor 

Town of Sharpsburg 

 

Jeff Johnson 

Mayor 

Town of Lucama

Mack Smith is the mayor of Black Creek