Daily Energy News: Texas electricity market has ‘best market structure,’ think tank says; Texas regulators tweak electricity shopping website; Missouri utility pilots smart meter DR program

D.C. free-market think tank touts Texas electricity market as ‘best market structure’. “Texas has the best market structure to signal resource investment and integration, especially for variable and use-limited resources, suggesting that it offers the best model for affordable decarbonization in the country,” Devin Hartman writes in a paper for the R Street institute, a free-market think tank in Washington, D.C. “This past year saw 25 percent of the Texas coal fleet retire. Looking ahead, investments and system integration of storage and solar will be far more efficient in Texas, thanks to voluntary private investment that tracks granular price signals. This will make for a compelling contrast to California, which relies on mandates, subsidies and an inefficient state procurement process that is driving costs up and driving industry out,” Hartman writes.

Texas’ ‘Power to Choose’ website now gives you options to weed out tricky ‘tiered plans’. Texas regulators adopted changes to the “Power to Choose” electricity shopping website aimed at addressing concerns about confusing and misleading offers. Perhaps the most significant change allows shoppers to filter out “tiered plans,” considered the most confusing rate plans. The PUC wants to implement further changes in the future. “The chairman said that if the changes don’t help, and companies are still able to game the site, deceiving consumers into thinking their plans offer the lowest prices, then the commission may just shut down the website.”

Tendril,  KCP&L test new smart thermostat demand response program. Kansas City Power & Light has partnered with Tendril Orchestrated Energy to pilot its leading smart thermostat demand management solution. Tendril’s innovative load-shifting technology will allow KCP&L to add support for ecobee smart thermostats. Tendril’s approach allows existing ecobee users within KCP&L’s Missouri service territory to reduce energy consumption during peak periods without sacrificing comfort. KCP&L is hoping to benefit from Orchestrated Energy’s ability to improve demand reduction and energy efficiency with this pilot program all while keeping customers comfortable. Orchestrated Energy reduces cooling load by an average of 85 percent during demand response events and its daily optimization schedules, when coupled with the energy efficiency savings from the ecobee smart thermostat, reduce HVAC energy usage by up to 24 percent.