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I'm so mad but not really that shocked. Our electric bills in the summer are insane. We have plans in 2009 to make some energy effecient upgrades to the house but we have 2 more summers between now and then. And companies pulling this crap.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -

TXU unfairly raised its wholesale energy prices for a period in 2005, costing customers approximately $70 million and earning the company more than $19 million in extra profits, according to a report released by Texas regulators Monday.

For nearly six months the Public Utilities Commission of Texas and an independent market monitor have been investigating whether the Dallas-based energy giant manipulated the state's wholesale energy market by briefly withholding production in order to drive up prices during the summer of 2005.

"Since TXU, in fact, raised prices in the market and profited from its activities, the [market monitor] concluded that TXU's behavior constitutes market power abuse," says a letter by state regulators accompanying the report. "The [market monitor] also notes that TXU's behavior would tend to increase prices in other wholesale and retail markets, although these effects are not easily quantifiable."

According to the report, TXU (nyse: TXU - news - people )--Texas' largest provider of electricity--did not have adequate competition in its wholesale markets during the hottest days of 2005, when reserve power plants are called into service to help power air conditioners, fans and other cooling units. The company's actions cost purchasers of TXU's wholesale power about $70 million. The market monitor said TXU earned $19.6 million more than it would if the wholesale markets had been competitive.

TXU, which recently attracted national media attention as the subject of the largest leveraged buyout in history, says it is still in the process of reviewing the report.

"We are obviously disappointed in the findings on an issue that was first raised about six months ago regarding activities in the summer of 2005," says the company in a statement. "We have thoroughly reviewed our conduct during the referenced time period, and believe it is consistent with the commission's rules and policies."

TXU says it is "eager and open" to discussing the report with the state utility regulatory commission. The company has not said how the news might affect its proposed $45 billion buyout led by private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Texas Pacific Group.

Texas regulators will determine the next steps in the investigation in the coming weeks by filing a formal notice of violation against TXU.

The news comes at a time when federal regulators are examining the state of competition wholesale energy markets. Retailers buy electricity on the wholesale market, then turn around and sell it to residential and commercial customers for a profit. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is charged with ensuring wholesale competition. State regulators are supposed to provide for retail competition.

Deregulation laws passed by many states in the late 1990s required vertically integrated utilities to separate their generation, transmission and distribution businesses in order to foster more competition and lower prices. However, critics complain that there is still not enough competition among generation businesses because of the high costs associated with building new power plants.

And while Texas is the lone state where federal regulators have no authority over wholesale energy markets, the report Monday implicating TXU is evidence that competition is not working as it was envisioned.
 

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Hey Jen, is that you? I recognized the tattoo. lol

We used to have TXU and switched to Reliant last summer. Instantly our bills went down. Our bill last month was $90. It was about $150 this time last year when we had TXU.
 

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Hey Nicole! I've considered moving to Reliant. We've had Green Mountain for several years but recently I've read they aren't as ecofriendly as they say. So now we're looking to budget.
 

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That's just awful. I know there was a big to do here about a list of people who were getting their utilities for free for one reason or another and it wasn't the list of the underpriveleged or underserved. The news interviewed a ton of people whose bills spiked sporadically to cover the bills of these other people. It's not real clear from the media what the actual situation was, but it's scary nonetheless that there is so much dishonesty and greediness in our world.
 
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