Coalition of Texas electric providers celebrates successful first year of electric choice in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 8, 2003 — The Alliance for Retail Markets (ARM), a group of competitive electricity providers serving Texas consumers is heralding the first year of the Texas Electric Choice program as a success.

The coalition which includes: Green Mountain Energy Company; Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.; Strategic Energy; Utility Choice Electric; Smart Energy; Republic Power; and APS Energy Services cites higher than expected switching levels, consumer savings, and a robust competitive landscape as reasons for success.

The latest numbers from the Public Utility Commission of Texas show that over 320,000 residential customers, or roughly 6.5 percent, have already switched to a new electric provider. Many of these customers are seeing a substantial cost savings of between $6 and $14 on their monthly bills as a result of their decision to switch providers. Others are switching to providers that offer cleaner electricity or the promise of improved customer service.

“We have been very pleased with the level of activity in the market this past year,” said Gillan Taddune, president of the Texas region for cleaner electricity provider Green Mountain Energy Company. “Many people were looking to Texas as a model for electric choice. The past year is proof that competition can work and consumers of all types can reap the benefits.”

The commercial and industrial market was also very active last year, with more than 80,000 customers switching providers in 2002. Through August, 2002 commercial and industrial customers have saved an estimated $645 million as a result of retail customer choice.

“Our customers have certainly realized the benefits of electric deregulation,” said Chuck Sutton, Vice President of Constellation NewEnergy, Texas region. “Through the Electric Choice program, we have been able to offer customers options in selecting an energy partner that best meets their specific business needs and energy requirements and with a significant cost savings compared to regulated entities.”

Looking forward to 2003, ARM is optimistic that the market will continue to thrive and mature. ARM continues to support the restructuring legislation passed in 1999 because it has provided a solid framework for electric choice, although there are some aspects of the law that could be improved. ARM is committed to working with the PUCT and other groups to strengthen the law where appropriate in order to ensure that all market participants, especially consumers, can have confidence in the Texas electric market.

About the Alliance For Retail Markets

The Alliance For Retail Markets is a coalition designed to support efforts to offer choice in the energy market in Texas. The coalition is made up of seven companies: Green Mountain Energy Company; Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.; Strategic Energy; Utility Choice Electric; Smart Energy; Republic Power, and APS Energy Services. ARM is dedicated to working with the Texas regulators to ensure the rules for restructuring the Texas electricity market continue to establish fair and open retail competition while fostering the broadest choice for energy consumers.

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