Due to global market demand, the costs of all forms of energy (including natural gas, electricity, and gasoline) have increased dramatically in the past several years. Texans have had to dedicate a growing portion of their household income toward these increased costs. Texas companies, competing in the global marketplace, also need adequate, reliable, and reasonably priced energy to keep Texas a business-friendly environment. Without access to such energy, the economic prosperity of Texas and its citizens is threatened.

What does this mean for the real estate industry?
With the population of Texas expected to nearly double by 2060, lawmakers must find ways to support expansion of the system to ensure availability, reliability, and affordability for future generations.

Without expansion of current capacity and development of other generation sources, inadequacy in the current electric system during peak usage will lead to brownouts and blackouts. A state that can’t provide adequate and reliable energy to consumers will not be able to support population growth or the expansion of business and manufacturing in the state, which would dramatically affect the vitality of the Texas real estate industry.

The Texas REALTOR® position
The Texas Association of REALTORS® supports the establishment of a comprehensive statewide energy policy.

The policy should recognize use of current sources of energy and include a planning process for diversification of energy sources, evaluating all forms of generation for possible inclusion in the planning process: wind, nuclear, solar, coal, bio-fuels, and geothermal. The policy should include incentives for generation of capacity, security of the system, and management of consumption.

The association also supports the movement toward nonpolluting energy sources.

Additionally, the state should evaluate the effectiveness of deregulation and regulation of the electric industry, encourage the expansion and addition of electric generation capacity, and provide incentives for consumer compliance with voluntary green standards for homes and businesses.

Finally, Texas should maintain the electric system independence most of the state enjoys today to ensure system reliability.

Legislative outlook
As the Texas population continues to increase, lawmakers will act to secure the state’s energy future.

Historical perspective
The Texas Legislature created the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) in 1975 to provide statewide regulation of electric utilities. The Legislature restructured the electric market in 1999, paving the way for retail electric utility competition within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas service area in 2002. The retail energy market has not been fundamentally affected by legislation since that time.