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Are you ready to save hundreds on your electricity bill?

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

A Guide to Texas Electric Utilities - What You Need to Know

The system of electricity in Texas is complicated and unique. Trying to pick an electric company on your own is likely to feel like trying to put together a piece of furniture without any instructions – after pulling the box apart piece by piece trying to find them, only to realize none were included.

After hours of frustration and false moves, people are often tempted to just give up altogether. Luckily, we’ve made a little instruction guide for you on the electric utility providers in Texas. 

Become an Expert in Seconds with Power Wizard!

The Shopping Tool from Power Wizard compares over 130 REPs in Texas and delivers the results to you. Take this information and know with confidence that you are getting the best deal for your specific needs. 

 

If you’d rather learn on your own and take the time to research all of those different options, we’ve got you covered there too. Keep reading for a guide on Texas Electric Utilities.

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Texas electric utilities

What Are Electric Utilities?

In most countries, the Electric Utility industry provides electricity to the consumer directly in a regulated market or indirectly in a deregulated electricity market.

These entities are often regulated by local, state, or national laws to ensure that companies do not monopolize the electricity market. No matter what entity governs electric utilities where you live, the main goal is to ensure the safe distribution of electricity to you, the consumer.

When understanding electric utilities in Texas, some unique factors should be discussed.

Keep reading to learn more about Texas utility companies and how they are involved in helping to power your home or business.

What is a Texas Utility Company?

When trying to understand Texas utility companies, you have to understand a bit of history about the deregulation of electricity in Texas.

What is deregulation and what does it have to do with the Texas Electric Utilities?

In Texas, the deregulation of electricity allows consumers to choose what Retail Electric Providers (REPs) power their homes and business.

After the Texas state legislature decided to deregulate electricity in 2002, the new laws created room for a competitive electricity market.

Among that competition, the distribution and transmission of electricity have remained regulated by Texas Electricity Utility companies, also known as Transmission and Distribution Utilities (TDU).

What do Texas Utility companies do for Retail Electric Providers (REPs) and consumers?

The Texas Electricity Utility that services your area is responsible for two primary things:

  1. To ensure that electricity is safely transmitted along high voltage power lines from the generator to the retail electric provider that services your area.
  2. To distribute electricity along low voltage power lines from your retail service provider to the homes of consumers.

How are Texas utility companies run?

You may or may not have the power to choose your electric utility company. It all depends on if you live in an area that has a deregulated or regulated electricity market in Texas.

Each utility company provides service to an area that is “locked-in” and everyone that lives in a particular area has no choice but to use that utility company to supply and transport their electricity.

However, you do have the right to choose your retail electric company.

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Utility Company vs. Electricity Provider

In 2002, a bill was passed in the state of Texas that deregulated electricity for most of the state.

Since then, most people in Texas can now choose their electricity providers, called Retail Electric Providers (REPs).

Although you have a choice in who you purchase your electricity service from, you cannot choose your utility company, which transmits and maintains the electricity that you use in your home or business through poles, wires, and meters.

Electricity utility companies are also known as the Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU), or Transmission and Delivery Service Provider (TDSP).

There are currently five major electric utility companies in Texas, and each company services a specific area of the deregulated energy grid.

Electricity utility companies perform the overhead tasks of:

But make sure you understand this…

Electricity utility companies DO NOT compete with retail electricity providers in marketing and selling electricity directly to consumers.

Keep reading to understand how utility companies and electricity providers are similar to one another and how they are different.

How Are They Similar?

Utility companies and electricity providers are both necessary for consumers to power their homes and businesses in a deregulated market.

Essentially, utility companies and electricity providers are part of the structure set up to manage the process of generating energy and providing service to the home.

One can not exist as a fully functioning entity without the other.

Your electricity bill includes charges from both your utility company (listed as Transmission and Distribution Utilities) and your chosen retail electricity provider.

Also, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC of Texas) governs both utility companies and retail electricity providers by ensuring that both fulfill their respective responsibilities.

For instance, if you have major issues with your electricity provider or your utility company, the PUC of Texas would step in to help resolve the dispute.

However, it is not a common occurrence for consumers to call on the PUC since most issues are resolved directly with the electricity provider or utility company.

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How Are They Different?

Some clear distinctions can help you to better understand the roles of your utility company and your electricity provider.

Your utility company:

Essentially, your utility company is responsible for the maintenance of the poles and wires that transport your electricity, as well as supporting how electricity reaches properties.

You can not choose your utility company as each one services specific areas all over Texas.

On the other hand, your electricity provider:

How do you know that you have chosen the best electricity provider for your home or business?

If you want to be sure…

Use Power Wizard’s Savings Estimate tool.

By simply entering a few details (about where you live, the size and age of your property, as well as your historical energy usage) our 100% unbiased algorithm will find the best electricity company for you and your family.

Texas electric utilities

Types of Texas Electric Utility Companies

There are many different electric utility companies in Texas.

However, the way they function and whether they benefit from deregulation or not depends on the type of utility company it is.

Let’s take a look at the three types of utility companies that can be found in Texas.

Municipally Owned Utility Companies

When cities or local areas own and operate their own utilities, these are called municipal utilities.

However, these utilities are not owned by the residents but are governed by elected officials that are chosen by the people who live in the city or town.

It is common for most municipal utilities, but not all, to be subject to regulation laws. If that is the case, consumers in these areas usually do not have the power to choose their retail energy provider.

Privately Owned Utility Companies

Investor-owned utilities are also known as privately owned utility companies.

This type of utility company covers about 85% of the population in Texas, as well as the retail electricity market.

With so much of Texas being serviced by privately owned utilities, there is a competitive market among Retail Electric Providers in each utility company’s service area.

As such, consumers within these territories have the power to choose who provides electricity to their homes or business.

There are currently five privately owned utility companies in Texas, each serving its unique territories:

AEP Texas Central

This provider is headquartered in Corpus Christi and is part of American Electric Power (AEP), which is one of the largest utilities in the nation.

AEP Texas Central was formed in 2000 after merging with a couple of different companies and currently serves 219 towns and 44 counties, which totals about 800,000 customers.

You will find that the bulk of South Texas, which includes Rio Grande Valley – Victoria, Corpus Christi, McAllen, and Laredo, are serviced by them.

AEP Texas North

AEP Texas North is a utility company that is also headquartered in Corpus Christi and is part of American Electric Power (AEP), just like its sister company AEP Texas Central.

However, AEP Texas North serves a significantly smaller customer base of about 200,000 customers, which spans 153 towns and 48 counties.

You will find that AEP Texas North services most of North and West Texas, which includes Abilene, San Angelo, and Alpine.

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Oncor Electricity

Oncor Electricity is a utility company that is headquartered in Dallas and is the largest electricity utility company in Texas.

It is also the sixth-largest electric utility company in the United States.

This company transmits and maintains the distribution of electricity in more than 400 cities and towns in Texas, which includes over 10 million electricity consumers.

You will find that many of the areas in eastern, central, and western parts of Texas are serviced by Oncor Electricity. These areas include Dallas, Fort Worth, Odessa, Killeen, Midland, Waco, Tyler, Wichita Falls, and surrounding areas.

Center Point Energy

Center Point Energy is a utility company that is headquartered in Houston and serves electricity markets not only in Texas, but also in Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

It is also a Fortune 500 company, which services over 5 million customers across the aforementioned states.

CenterPoint was established in 1882 and continues to define its place in the electricity market.

Texas New Mexico Power

Texas New Mexico Power is a utility company that is headquartered in Lewisville, Texas, and was founded in 1935.

This company maintains, transmits, and distributes electricity to 249,000 customers that live in 20 Texas communities.

You will find that many of the areas in the far west, north-central, and gulf coast regions of Texas are serviced by Texas New Mexico Power.

These areas include the following:

Texas Utility Cooperatives

Texas utility cooperatives, also known as co-ops, are not-for-profit companies that are owned by their consumers.

When the deregulation of energy took place in 2002, utility co-ops were not included and did not have to submit to energy deregulation laws. This is because co-ops are structured among their members as a democratic system.

You are less likely to find Texas Utility Co-ops in big cities like Dallas or Houston; however, rural areas can better manage the complexity of maintaining this type of structure.

If you live within an area that uses utility cooperatives or municipal utilities, you can not choose your Retail Electric Provider because the maintenance, transmission, delivery, and service are the responsibility of the utility.

Find out if you have the power to choose electricity providers in your area with Power Wizard’s  Savings Estimate tool.

Begin by entering your zip code and a few more unique factors about your home or business so that our unbiased algorithm can find the best Retail Electric Provider for you.

Texas Electric Utility Companies Near Me

Your Texas electricity utility company specifically provides the maintenance of wires and poles, as well as the distribution and transmission of electricity to Retail Electric Providers that serve homes and businesses in your area.

It is not always necessary to know the electric utility company that is in your area because you will rarely interact with them directly.

However, let’s say that you are experiencing a power outage after a full day of ice and snow. After spending a full eight hours at home, with no heat, no working stove, and food spoiling in the refrigerator, you begin to wonder how long this power outage will last or if anyone is working on fixing it.

This would be a time when knowing who your electric utility company is because this is the company that would do the service or repair when there is damage that causes you to have no electricity.

You could easily search for your utility company. Let’s say that it is Oncor.

Go to Google.com and type in “Oncor” in the search box. One of the top search engine results will be a webpage for Oncor.

On the Oncor webpage, you can see their outage map where the company shows live data on areas that they serve which are experiencing an electrical outage.

Other instances where you may need to know what Texas utility companies are near you would be if:

You can report each of these incidents to the electric utility company but it does take a bit of work to find out which one to call in your area.

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Texas electric utilities

How Do I Find An Electric Utility Company in My Area?

The service areas for the five main electric utility services (AEP Texas Central, Texas North, Oncor, Center Point Energy, and Texas New Mexico Power) in Texas are assigned by territories.

If you know your zip code or general area on a map of Texas, you can figure out your electric utility company.

There are two ways to accomplish this – (1) by manually searching online or (2) by using Power Wizard’s unbiased algorithm.

If you are wanting to do a manual search, you will need to have quite a bit of time and patience because:

Looking at a map online and trying to locate your city, town, or apartment complex should be left to the map enthusiast.

But get this…

What you should want to know is the name of your Retail Electric Provider (REP), since most of your electrical dealings will be direct with them.

To do this, all you need to do is utilize Power Wizard’s Savings Estimate tool.

It allows you to enter your zip code and a few other factors about your home or business so that it does all the work for you.

The Saving Estimate tool will search for utility companies in your areaas well as the Retail Electric Providers they service.

However, it doesn’t stop there!

It will also show you the best electricity plan for you in your area.

Will An Electric Utility Company Come Onto My Property?

If you are a homeowner or business owner, there might be times when your utility company needs to come onto your property to repair poles or power lines. Other times your electricity meter just needs to be checked.

Most people do not have any issues with such things being done.

However, you might be concerned because you fear that utility workers may damage your land or property in the process.

Or, it also may be as simple as not wanting anyone around your home when you are not present or aware.

However, when you chose your Retail Electric Provider and signed a contract, you gave your electric utility company access to their equipment that is on your property, called an easement and access agreement.

Therefore, your utility company legally has the right to go onto your property to read your electricity meter, and service and maintain the electrical equipment.

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