UPDATED: TXU, Reliant to do right by POLR customers

TXU Energy is one of the companies that took on the thousands of customers abandoned this month when electric retailers PreBuy Electric and National Power went out of business. TXU, just like Reliant Energy, Direct Energy and a few others, is playing the role of “provider of last resort,” or POLR, in these cases.
State rules let POLR’s charge customers moved to their service a pretty high rate for electricity, a price that’s tied closely to the wholesale spot market. That market has been unusually volatile in the past two months, however. Earlier this week the price for power in Houston briefly hit 51.32 cents per kwh.
The Texas Public Utility Commission had an emergency meeting about the problem Thursday and the state’s market monitor has already suggested a change in wholesale rules to alleviate the problem.
TXU said today it plans to move those customers it took on from the recently defunct providers to their MarketEdge plan
“- a month-to-month plan that also preserves the flexibility to change to another plan or provider at any time without penalty,”” said TXU spokeswoman Sophia Stoller. “For June, the price for MarketEdge is in the 19 cent per kilowatt-hour range. Depending on where wholesale prices go next month, it could be somewhat higher or lower.”
Yes, 19 cents per kwh may seem like a lot, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the 30-plus cents per kwh that is the POLR rate.
Reliant Energy says it won’t be sticking the 7,200 customers it is taking on from the two downed retailers on the POLR plan but on a less expensive plan.
“In the meantime, we would recommend that customers who have been transitioned to POLR to actively sign up for a competitive product,” said Reliant spokeswoman Pat Hammond. “We have just introduced a new month-to-month product with a price of 16 cents per kwh at 1000 kwh or 15.8 cents per kwh at 1,500 kwh.”