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Texas May Increase Wholesale Electricity Rates

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power grid 72460145 Texas May Increase Wholesale Electricity Rates

(credit: Robert Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The Texas Public Utility Commission is considering raising the price cap on wholesale electricity rates by 50 percent this summer in hopes it will spur construction of new power plants.

Officials say Texas needs to boost its electricity capacity to avoid potential blackouts at peak times like hot summer days.

Advocates of the plan hope the promise of higher profits will lead power companies to build new power plants. A vote is scheduled for Thursday’s commission meeting.

Consumer groups worry the price increase will raise wholesale costs by billions of dollars and mean higher electric bills for Texas households. And there’s no guarantee the higher rates will result in new construction.

With triple digit temperatures continuing across North Texas many are already bracing for higher electricity bills.

There had been calls for electricity conservation from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), but on Wednesday the electric grid operator for most of the state cancelled the request to conserve power due to system demand.

On Tuesday, Texas set a June record for peak electricity demand as temperatures soared into the 100s.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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