As with the switch from a zonal to a nodal electricity market in Texas, the shift from a regulated to a deregulated market did not happen overnight. The process took several years and was the result of hard work by many different people. However, state senator David Sibley is recognized as the person who played an important role in the creation and development of the legislation. Sibley had previously been a member of the Waco City Council and the Mayor of Waco for one year. It was after he became a member of the Texas senate that he would contribute to electricity deregulation.
Texas Senate Bill 7 and the birth of deregulation
In the 1990s, deregulation was already occurring in countries like the United Kingdom and Australia. In 1999, Sibley introduced Texas Senate Bill 7. This bill made several important changes, but the most notable features of the bill were these: Senate Bill 7 allowed for retail electricity competition in the majority of the Texas market, and also established renewable energy standards which took precedence around the state.
According to PowertoChoose.org, the website of the Texas Electric Choice Education Program, competition in the Texas electric market has the potential for a number of benefits. These can include possibly lower prices, innovation in energy options, and the adoption of more “clean” energy sources.
While the bill was introduced in 1999, it did not become law until January 1, 2002. When this occurred, it opened the door for many changes in the ways that customers buy electricity in Texas. However, switching is not a requirement for those living in deregulated areas—the option to continue receiving electricity from the Affiliate Retail Electric Provider (part of the original provider that generated and sold electricity in your area) is one of the basic rights of Texas electricity consumers.
New options in a competitive electricity market
One new option in the Texas competitive energy market is the potential for Aggregators, or electricity-buying groups that may be able to get benefits for their members. Aggregators can be formed from a variety of different organizations, such as cities, towns, or non-profit organizations, or can be formed expressly for the purpose of buying electricity.
Retail Electric Providers in the deregulated Texas market also have the option to use agents or brokers in their efforts to attract customers. These may be individuals or companies, but all agents and brokers are still required to “play by the rules” of whichever REP they are representing.
Your opportunities as a customer in a deregulated market
The Texas deregulated electricity market has now been in effect for over 8 years, and there are many options for customers looking to switch. You can find out more about different providers in your area on this site. For even more information on the Texas electricity market and the benefits that Just Energy can provide, call the number or fill out the form at the top of this page.