Over the past 10 years, the Texas economy has grown by a quarter of a trillion dollars, with real gross product up $255 billion dollars since 1999, after adjusting for inflation. The prodigious growth has coincided with a revolution in the state’s electric industry , as lawmakers introduced competition into the system in 1999, paving the way for billions of dollars in new investments, dozens of new competitors, and cleaner, more efficient power.
As noted in the Midland Reporter-Telegram , the positive effects of competition continue to grow, and now total an impact of nearly $22.4 billion in total spending in the economy each year. Competition in the electric industry accounts for $10.3 billion in annual output, $6.3 billion in annual personal income, and almost $4.2 billion in annual retail sales. More importantly, competition also accounts for more than 131,000 permanent jobs.
Moreover, the economic stimulus associated with competition is now responsible for $761 billion in annual state revenues and $338 million in resources to various local governments across Texas .
All this economic activity was made possible by Senate Bill 7 in 1999, which allowed competitors to enter the Texas electric market, bringing new investment, new ideas, and new jobs to the industry and state.
Competition has made the industry more efficient, with the savings passed onto the customer. Furthermore, competition has given Texas businesses different options for buying electricity — innovative products that meet their specific usage patterns, load characteristics, risk appetite, and interest in renewables.
Ten years ago, Texas businesses only had one option for buying electricity : a one–fits-all rate that couldn’t be customized to fit their unique needs. Now, over 100 different electric companies compete to win customers’ business, and businesses can choose from a myriad of different options: fixed-rates, variable rates, hybrid rates, green plans, demand response products, distributed generation, and much more. It allows businesses to find what works for them, while saving them money.
Meanwhile, electric competition has led to billions of dollars in new, cleaner power generation plants being built. In particular, since 1999, Texas has added over 4,000 megawatts of clean, renewable wind power, surpassing California as the number one state in the U.S. for wind power. The investment in wind farms and other renewable sources, together with those for other types of power generation and transmission, have led to billions of dollars in economic activity and tens of thousands of jobs across the state.