DALLAS -

(AP) - A surge in natural gas prices and a lack of new power plant construction is being blamed for raising the retail price of electricity in Texas by 9 percent over a year ago.
    
The analysis by the Association of Electric Companies of Texas comes as electric power consumers find themselves increasingly feeling the pinch at a time of year when demand is at its peak. The Dallas Morning News reports those gas prices are expected to remain steady into next year.
    
Power companies contend current electricity prices are too low to justify new power plant building. However, U.S. census data shows Texas is taking on new residents at a rate exceeding 1,200 people per day.