The History of Energy Deregulation in Texas


The Story of Electricity in Texas

How did we get here? Ever since the first electric power plant in Texas went online in Galveston in 1880, electricity has fueled the growth of the Lone Star State. In the beginning, a patchwork of electrical providers sprang up to accommodate Texas’ growing population and power needs. These companies – called utilities – were a one-stop shop. They generated the power, brought it to your house, maintained your electrical service, did the billing, and took care of customer service.

However, the push for an open, competitive Texas electricity market began in the 1990s. Deregulation, as it’s called in legal-ese, became official on January 1, 2002. Today, while a few places still have city-owned electric companies or rural co-ops, about 85% of Texans have the power to choose the electricity company they like most. This company sets up your electric service, buys electricity for you, sends you a bill, and takes care of your account.

In spite of these big changes, a few important things haven’t changed. Power is still generated and transmitted the same way. No matter which electricity company you choose, the utility company for your area is still responsible for the lines, poles, wires and cables bringing electricity to your house. And the reliability of your electric service remains as strong as ever.

What matters most is that energy choice in Texas is yours.

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