The price to beat seemed to accomplish its goal of attracting competitors to the market during the period through January 1, 2007. It allowed competitors to enter the market without allowing the incumbents to undercut them in price. It has also given energy consumers the ability to compare energy rates offered by different providers. The less-regulated providers undercut the price to beat by only a small margin given that they must balance lower prices (to attract customers and build market share) with higher prices (needed to reinvest in new power plants). Due to the small difference in competing prices and slow (yearly or so) "buying" process, price decrease due to competition was very slow, and it took a few years to offset the original increase by "traditional" electric providers and move to lower rates.
Before the Texas Senate Bill 7 (SB7) came into effect on January 1, 2002 electricity consumers didn't have the option to choose who they received electricity from. But now with the Deregulation of Texas Energy, it has broken down the market into several different Retail Electric Providers, helping create competition and lower electricity rates for consumers throughout Texas. Over 75% of Texas has been given the power to choose their own electric provider, and millions of Texans have already exercised their right to choose.
In this free market competing electricity retailers buy electricity wholesale from private power generators to sell at retail to around 85% of Texas residents. The partnership between generators and retailers is governed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which attempts to balance the power grid’s electricity supply and demand by purchasing small amounts of electricity at 15-minute intervals throughout the day.