In July 2012, Frontier Texas, an Old West museum located in Abilene, received an electric bill nearly $4,000 higher than expected. Oddly enough, the museum hadn’t used an unusual amount of power that month. Rather, the cause of the high bill was the fact that Abilene lies in Texas’s western power trading zone, which happens to be home to the Permian Basin, the nation’s most prolific oil-producing region. How is oil development raising electricity prices in West Texas? It all has to do with congestion on the power grid.

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