In the past few years, businesses and residents in Western Texas have been shocked by a new trend. In a state known for oil production and energy exports, an aging power grid has sent power bills skyrocketing beyond what West Texans could have ever imagined. While with the coming of age of “fracking,” as it’s known in the popular media, Texas has again become the center of attention for energy, there is more to the story than it initially seems.
In many small cities throughout West Texas, the economies have become stronger, attracting many who seek jobs and stability to these areas. However, with this much desired growth has come the need for more energy in these very towns, but with infrastructure that can hardly keep up with the demand. Some solutions have proven temporary and costly, such as the switch from regional grids to the aging local systems. The demand gets temporarily met, but with a price tag that’s painful on the wallet. Yet elsewhere in Texas, where systems and issues are different, the increase of natural gas has greatly decreased prices.
While market prices match demand and investment, citizens and businesses in West Texas are stuck trying to find a way to mitigate these high prices, often accompanied by difficult decisions over other resources. Only time will tell if this problem can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.