We don’t think much about electricity until the power goes out. You pay the bill, and the power keeps working – or at least that’s how it usually works. Sometimes, outages happen. Depending on what caused it, the number of people affected could range from just a few to thousands.

Most of the United States runs off two power grids. Texas, on the other hand, is the one state that owns its power grid. The Texas power grid benefits Texans since no single company can own all the states’ power plants, power lines, and distribution networks. About 60% of Texans have several power providers to choose from, which can’t be said for most states.

The Texas Power Grid Explained

While the rest of the U.S. runs on either the Western Interconnection or the Eastern interconnection, only Texas runs on the Texas Interconnection. Most of the electricity in Texas is generated by a combination of natural gas steam and wind turbines.

A total of 567 generators send electricity to around 12.6 million Texans every day. From there, 85 transmission companies send power, which customers pay as a fee on their electric bill. However, customers pay one of the 127 power providers in the state, like Now Power.

Why Does Texas Have Its Own Power Grid?

In the early 2000s, the U.S. put regulations in place that would determine which companies could sell electricity and what they could charge for it. Texas wanted to avoid more federal regulation and chose to opt-out and power themselves.

Though they weren’t the only state that considered this idea, they were the only state big enough to make it a reality. The state spans two time zones, which means peak usage times are an hour later in half of the state. This, plus the sheer size of the state, made it possible for them to sustain their power grid.

After going solo on supplying power to the state, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) now regulates the power grid and power companies for 90% of the state. There are multiple power companies to choose from, but they all run electricity from the same Texas energy sources.

Why the Texas Electric Grid Failed in Harsh Winter Conditions

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to not having other power grids to fall back on. In February 2021, Texas saw freezing conditions in a normally mild climate. Since the natural gas wells and wind turbines weren’t winterized, they failed during the ice storms.

Even before the ice froze everything over, the grid couldn’t keep up with the increased demand for electricity when most of the state stayed home and turned up the heat. This left roughly 4.5 million Texans without power for days. By the time power was restored, there was an estimated $20 billion in property damage throughout the state.

Can Texas Prevent Future Winter Blackouts?

There are multiple steps that Texas will need to take to prevent future blackouts like the one in February 2021. The first step will be to winterize the existing Texas power sources. Another option the state might consider is adding additional energy sources that would hold up better in potentially hazardous winter conditions.

Now that the state is responsible for providing residents with their power, they will also need to monitor the growing population. There are necessary improvements to ensure that the electricity demand can still be met with their own power grid.

Benefits of the Texas Power Grid for Customers

Most of Texas runs off the Texas power grid sources, so there’s little avoiding a blackout if one were to occur. However, you can control how much you spend on your electricity. Since Texas has a mostly unregulated market, power companies in Texas can offer more options to their customers.

Now Power Texas offers both traditional post-use billing and prepaid billing. With the post-use billing cycle used by most power companies, it can be hard to keep your bill low. But with prepaid electricity plans, you will have a set amount of electricity and an app to monitor your usage.

Now Power Texas offers plans to fit every lifestyle, with no deposit, credit check, or long-term contracts to worry about. Call, email, or fill out the form to talk to a Now Power Texas representative to get you set up today.