Yes we can officially declare the worst recession in the US outside of the great depression is finally over. We can now go back to living our lives like there is a tomorrow and that the US will be leading the world to a better 21st century.
We know the recession is over because house prices dropped in Texas by almost 5% last year. Now I know if you’re in another part of the country 5% sounds like nothing when we are talking about the drop in housing prices in the recession, but in Texas that’s still 5% and we don’t like our homes to lose any value or anything else we own for that matter. With that being the case and our ability to weather most any economic storm due to our oil and gas state revenues, when Texas hits the bottom we’re the last chip to fall. Therefore, the recession is now over and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, for most of us, now with the recession over we will start to see an increase in almost everything we use especially electricity. Electricity on average is now at the lowest price point in relative dollars since 1960. That probably seems incredible to most of you but you just don’t realize how much more electricity we use now than in 1960. The biggest contributor to that usage is centralized air conditioning but there are many other culprits as well including all those computers, smart phones, flat screen TV’s, outside lighting, and so many other conveniences of today. The electricity grids we have built to date are almost all operating at close to capacity and with the advent of deregulation there is no “big daddy government funding” to provide for the necessary upgrades required for the next 30 years of growth.
Texas is projected to grow tremendously over the next 25 years and there is almost no way the electricity grid can keep up. Additionally, natural gas is at 10 year low prices and although we have discovered huge reserves of new gas it will not remain at these artificially low levels. Not to mention that with a reviving economy we will see demand for natural gas double over the next 10-15 years, since it is now the cheapest and cleanest burning fuel on the planet. Furthermore, with the implementation of EPA requirements for coal burning power plants, it’s very conceivable that our cheapest way to actually generate electricity may become even more expensive than wind power and solar energy.
The bottom line is that although we may now be in a recovery the price of our basic commodities will start to increase and as they do we will see the impact and one of those areas will be electricity. So if you think your electricity bill is high in the summer in Texas today, just wait a few years. It’s projected that electricity prices could easily double by 2020 and although that seems a ways out they will be steadily increasing from this point on. At the Texas Electricity Alliance we are working to make sure our customers are prepared for this and we are constantly working with them to improve their efficiency with their electricity usage and making sure they always have the best prices in the market.