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Discover how to get the best electricity rates in Texas - within seconds!

Are you ready to save hundreds on your electricity bill?

Discover how to get the best electricity rates in Texas - within seconds!

The Texas Electric Power Grid - Everything You Wanted To Know

The state of Texas has its own power grid and is the only state in the lower 48 to do so. Plugged into that grid are over 130 providers of power for the citizens of our great state. It’s like going to one of those beer gardens with over 100 taps on the wall – exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

 

Sadly, for the majority of people, seeing these many options only reinforces them going with a regretful choice. We’ve all gotten sick of standing in front of people, looking at the menu with our mouths open for dozens of minutes, only to order some terrible beer that we immediately hated, or worse, seemed like a “safe bet” when a new favorite beer was right around the corner.

 

When this happens with an electric provider, there are often contracts in place that require you to stay with them for a certain period. So, a more accurate comparison would actually be if you ordered a terrible beer and the bartender said “Now you have to order this at least 12 more times.”

You Aren’t Trapped! Compare Options in Seconds With Power Wizard!

Power Wizard instantly evaluates the many different options “on tap” in your area and serves you up the options you’ll like the most. All of this happens in seconds, enabling you to tap into the power grid efficiently with Power Wizard’s Shopping Tool.

 

Want to keep learning about the grid? Keep reading for more information!

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Texas electric power grid

What Is An Electric Power Grid?

Simply put, a power grid is a network set up for the specific purpose of delivering electricity from the producers of electricity to the consumers of electricity – the homes, apartments, businesses, and industries that use electricity.

The power grid begins where electricity is made (or generated) from natural gas, oil, wind, or solar sources. Transmission and distribution facilities also make up the power grid. These facilities include the power poles and the power lines that are in the network.

Next in the network are transformers. Transformers are the pieces of equipment that turn high-voltage electricity (that comes from the generation source) into low-voltage electricity that then reaches the homes of consumers.

Is There A Difference Between An Electric Grid And A Power Grid?

The short answer to this question is no, there is no difference between an electric grid and a power grid.

There is not any difference between an electric grid and a power grid.

Essentially, it is simply two different names to describe the same thing.

How Do Power Grids Impact Electricity Consumers?

A power grid is essential for electricity consumers.

After all, it is how electricity gets from the power source to the homes of consumers. All of the components that make up a power grid control how electricity is transmitted and delivered to electricity consumers, businesses, and industries.

The better the power grid is, the better it is for the consumer.

It can ensure less downtime (fewer power outages), better pricing, and more.

Texas electric power grid

Texas Power Distribution

Since Texas has its own power grid, it means that it has its own means of distributing electricity across the state.

Is Texas On Its Own Power Grid?

The answer to the question is Texas on its own power grid is yes! Texas does have its own power grid.

Texas is the only state in the lower 48 states to have its own power grid.

Other states in the country depend on power grids from neighboring states and across state lines.

How Many Texas Power Grids Are There?

The state of Texas only has one power grid – the ERCOT grid, which stands for the Electricity Reliability Council Of Texas.

Why Is Texas On Its Own Power Grid?

The primary reason Texas is on its own power grid is that the state did not want to depend on other states to provide energy to its residents.

Second, Texas has an abundance of its own natural resources – natural gas and oil. It also has an abundance of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Third, Texas is a massive state. Texas has to generate and supply a huge amount of energy to a ton of consumers in the state – more so than other states in the country. Being on its own power grid makes this possible.

How Are Consumers Impacted By The Texas Electric Grid?

Since Texas has and controls its own power grid, it helps to ensure that electricity is consistently on because Texas is not relying on another state or area for its electricity.

If there is a power outage or broken equipment, Texas is solely responsible for repairing and maintaining its own equipment and getting the power back on.

This can allow the state to maintain low outage rates.

Having its own power grid also allows Texas to utilize renewable energy, such as wind and solar, instead of depleting natural resources such as natural gas, coal, and oil.

Who Controls The Texas Power Grid?

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) controls the Texas power grid. They are responsible for every aspect of the power grid in Texas. The Electric Reliability Council Of Texas provides electricity to the majority of the state.

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Texas electric power grid

What Is ERCOT?

ERCOT stands for the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas. The Electric Reliability Council Of Texas provides electricity to approximately 26 million customers in Texas.

If you look at the Texas electrical power grid map, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas provides approximately 60% of the electricity in Texas.

The Electric Reliability Council Of Texas is responsible for the electric grid connecting 46,500 miles of transmission lines and over 650 generation units in the state of Texas.

Is ERCOT A Government Entity?

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas is a 501(c)(4), which is a nonprofit corporation. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas is a membership-based organization.

Its members include:

  • Municipally owned electric utilities
  • Consumers
  • Transmission and distribution providers
  • Generators
  • Investor-owned electric utilities
  • Power marketers
  • Retail Electric Providers (REPs) or electricity companies

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas is not a government entity. As mentioned above, it is a membership-based nonprofit organization.

Who Oversees ERCOT?

The Public Utilities Commission of Texas and the Texas legislature oversee the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas.

The Electric Reliability Council Of Texas has a board of directors. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas is subject to oversight by the Texas Legislature and by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

How Does ERCOT Handle Blackouts?

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas has a special protocol in place to handle blackouts.

To prevent and limit blackouts, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas has a five-stage process that includes normal operation conditions and rotating (or rolling) blackouts.

How Does ERCOT Handle Power Shortages?

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has a three-level alert system in place to handle power shortages with ERCOT zones by county.

  • Level 1: The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas imports power from nearby regions and seeks all types of available power generation.
  • Level 2: When power availability falls below a certain level, it invokes pre-arranged contracts for large power consumers to reduce and conserve energy levels.
  • Level 3: At the lowest level of electric availability, the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas conducts rolling blackouts. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas does exempt specific consumers from blackouts for safety reasons.

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What Is Specifically Unique About Electricity In Texas?

Electricity in Texas is generated, transmitted, and distributed all within the state of Texas, which is specifically unique to the state.

Many other states receive electricity that is generated from another state or states.

Advantages Of A Texas Electric Grid

There are several advantages to Texas having its own electric grid.

Advantage 1: Stability

One of the primary benefits of Texas having its own electric grid is that Texas has stable access to energy because it does not have to depend on another state. The need to deliver electricity across state borders to other states disappears since Texas maintains and manages its own grid.

Having its own grid means it is easier for the state to upgrade, maintain, monitor, and control electricity, which also makes it more stable.

Advantage 2: Technology

Another advantage of managing your own electric grid is that the state can keep up with technology in a faster and more effective manner.

This allows the state to take advantage of cleaner sources of energy, such as solar and wind.

Advantage 3: Stakeholders

A third advantage is the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas has a board of directors. This is an advantage because it allows the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas to create a board of directors that come from different industries and walks of life.

This means the board can have a better idea of the issues and problems that face the energy industry and consumers.

The board is made up of 16 members and has to include:

  • Current Electric Reliability Council Of Texas CEO
  • Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman
  • 5 unaffiliated members
  • 3 consumer members representing each of the following sectors: residential, commercial, and industrial
  • 6 members from each of the following industry sectors: investor-owned utilities, municipally-owned utilities, generators, power marketers, Retail Electric Providers (REPs), and cooperatives.

The board is responsible for:

  • Setting and approving a budget
  • Revising protocols and guidelines
  • Capital spending
  • Developing new transmission projects

Advantage 4: Job Growth

Finally, Texas having its own electric grid means that it creates jobs within the state. Delivering and maintaining the grid requires educated professionals and specialists in running the grid.

Disadvantages Of A Texas Electric Grid

There are a few disadvantages to Texas having its own power grid.

Disadvantage 1: Side Effects

Areas on the grid that have power plants that burn fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

As a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide causes the Earth’s temperature to rise.

Disadvantage 2: Power Outages

When areas in Texas experience power outages, consumers only have the state of Texas to depend on to get the grid operating properly again so they get their power back.

While the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas does have a backup plan to bring electricity in from other states, if necessary, it is only used as a last resort effort. They try to do everything to use their own electricity first but if all else fails then the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas turns to other states for help.

Disadvantage 3: Low Extra Capacity

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas and the Texas electricity grid have one of the lowest reserve margins of any electricity market in the United States.

This means that the Texas market has a small buffer zone of extra capacity.

In times of high electricity demand, this makes it difficult for the Texas power grid to keep up with the demand.

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How Is Electricity Pricing Impacted By The Texas Electric Grid?

Electricity prices in Texas increase during periods where there is a high electricity demand. Electricity price increases occur because the cost of electricity resources increases, while the remaining extra generating capacity is decreasing.

When prices increase, it sends a signal to electricity generators that they need to produce more electricity. Price increases also send the message to consumers that they need to make an effort to conserve their use of electricity.

How Can Consumers Ensure They Are Getting The Best Electricity Prices In Texas?

Finding the best electricity plan can vary greatly from person to person and from situation to situation.

There is a myriad of factors that must be considered for individuals to truly ensure that they are getting the best electricity prices in Texas.

There are two primary choices that consumers have when embarking on the search for the best electricity prices and plans for them and their individual needs.

Manual Search

Of the search options you have, the manual search is definitely the most complex process.

The manual search process can create a lot of stressconfusionheadaches, and wasted time.

If you are not scared of a ton of hard work, here is what the manual search process entails :

  1. Identify all the Retail Electric Providers (REPs) that service your area. Retail Electric Providers are all of the electricity companies that operate in the state of Texas to deliver electricity to consumers.
  2. Go to the individual websites of each of these REPs. (HINT: There are over 160 REPs in the state of Texas.)
  3. Review each of the multiple plans that each REP offers. (HINT: This can be thousands of plans.)
  4. Create a mile-long spreadsheet with column after column to try to conduct a side-by-side comparison of what can amount to thousands of plans.
  5. Spend days of your life (that you are never getting back) trying (trying being the keyword here) to analyze all of these plans to truly determine which is the best plan for you based on a multitude of factors.
  6. Finally, choose a plan (more out of desperation than truly choosing the best plan).
  7. Sign up for the plan, pay your deposit, etc.

Even after putting in all of this hard work, it is almost impossible to choose the best plan because it is extremely difficult to choose the best electricity plan based on your usage alone because:

  • Many plans have cancellation fees
  • Some plans offer a free gift (like a Google Home) if you sign up for that particular plan
  • Some plans are prepaid
  • Others have a fixed rate
  • Some charge you a slightly higher rate to use renewable electricity
  • Some plans automatically increase your rate when your contract is up for renewal. You might be paying 9.7¢ per kilowatt-hour for the entire term of your contract but when the contract renews, it automatically renews and signs you up (without notifying you) for a plan that’s 12.7¢ per kilowatt-hour.
  • Each plan has extremely technical Terms of Service that are hard to understand and evaluate
  • Some plans have Free Nights and Weekends, but only during certain hours
  • Some plans are for 1,000 kWh per month while others are for 2,000 kWh per month
  • Others plans have minimum usage fees – meaning that if you have a 1,000 kWh plan and only use 987 kWh, you’ll pay a higher rate since you didn’t meet the minimum usage

The Power Wizard Automatic Search

With the Power Wizard  Savings Estimate can help you find the hands-down best plan for you when all of the relevant factors are taken into consideration (age of home, size of the home, etc.).

The Power Wizard Savings Estimate puts your search for the best electricity plan on autopilot.

All you have to do is answer a few quick questions – questions you likely already know the answers to off the top of your head.

It is information such as:

  • Zipcode
  • Age of home
  • Square footage of home
  • Lifestyle
  • Historic usage of electricity

As a bonus, Power Wizard signs you up for the plan once you choose it.

As another bonus, Power Wizard continues to monitor your plan, your electricity usage, and the electricity market. So if a better plan for you comes to the market, Power Wizard lets you know so you can decide if you want to make the switch.

If you do decide to make the switch, Power Wizard will sign you up for the new plan and cancel your old plan for you.

Let us find you the best plan in seconds and start saving.