How to Reconnect Your Power in Texas
Power's out in Texas? Whether it was disconnected after a power outage or for non-payment, our guide will walk you through how to get your electricity back up and running in Texas if it's been cut
Quick Answers About Power Disconnections in Texas
WHO can disconnect my power supply?
Aside from your power being cut by an unforseen incident (such as a storm, or tree falling on the lines), only your Transmission & Distribution Utility (TDU - or simply, "utility") is authorized to disconnect and reconnect your electricity service. However, your retail electric provider (REP) may request that your power be cut if you fail to pay your bills on time.
WHEN can my power be cut?
Your power can be cut without warning under the following circumstances:
- During a storm or extreme weather incident
- Your TDU has detected that a situation that would make power service dangerous. In this case your power may be kept disconnected as long as the dangerous situation exists. However, your TDU should try to provide written notice of the disconnection where reasonable
- There is evidence of tampering with your meter or theft of electricity
WHY can my power be cut?
Aside from emergency situations (see above), your power may be disconnected for any one of the following reasons, with notice
- You are behind on a payment, and haven't contacted your REP to make an alternate payment arrangement
- You haven't paid the security deposit that your REP requires for service
- You've made alternate payment arrangements but have not complied with terms of the agreement
You can find more information about disconnection in our guide to Texas consumer rights.
Your Circuit's Blown
The first thing you should do when your power goes out is to check to make sure that you haven't blown a circuit. When you use too many electrical appliances at the same time you risk overloading the circuit, which will cause it to "trip". If you were using multiple electrical appliances at the same time and the power suddenly went off, it is likely that one of your circuits has tripped. In this case, make sure to unplug some of your electrical appliances and check the circuit breakers in your electrical panel to make sure that there aren't any that have tripped. If this is the case, simply push the lever fully "off" and then "on".
Check outside to see if power is out just for your house or for the whole neighbourhood. Call your utility if you see that this is a local outage. You can find the number to call on your electricity bill, or on our list of emergency numbers for ERCOT-area utilities in Texas. You will likely be asked to provide the following information:
- The location, date, and time of the outage
- Whether you saw or heard anything out of the ordinary
- Whether your neighbours have power as well
Keep in mind that it may take some time to get in touch with a customer service representative because other customers are also reporting the outage. You might also want to check your utility's website or Twitter to see if they are aware of the problem.
Sometimes your wires services provider may plan an outage in your neighbourhood in order to perform construction or maintenance activities. They will notify you in advance of any scheduled outages. If this is the case the outage should last only a few hours.
Call 9-1-1 if there's an emergency related to a power outage, such as:
You see power lines down in your neighbourhood. DO NOT GO NEAR DOWNED POWER LINES
A tree is touching a line and power lines are sparking
There is a fire near or related to power lines
Power Outage Tips:
- If your power is out for only a few hours, you don't need to worry about food spoilage. That being said, try not to open fridges or freezers during an outage, so that food stays as cold as possible.
- Try not to use your cellphone too much and use up its battery.
- It is a good idea to have a few flashlights & a battery-powered radio (with some spare batteries) in case of a power outage.
- You should still be able to use a phone that plugs directly into the phone jack
You've Moved to a New Home
If you are moving to a new home where power has been disconnected, you will need to choose a retail electric provider and have them contact your utility to request connection. Depending on how quickly you require service, you may have to pay an activation fee.
New to Texas? Check out some of our guides to choosing a REP in Texas:
How to Read an Electricity Contract in Texas
4 Mistakes You Make When Shopping for Electricity
Understand Your Texas Electricity Bill
Disconnection for Non-Payment
Getting your power disconnected for problems related to non-payment may not be pleasant, but at least having it reconnected is fairly simple. Call your retail electric provider to confirm that your service disconnection is related to non-payment. Note that according to PUC rules, you should have been issued with a disconnection notice that told you why your service would be disconnected, what you can do to avoid it, and any charges associated with disconnection/reconnection, along with the total amount due.
If this is the case, you will have to pay your bill in full as well as a disconnection and/or reconnection fee to have your service restored. You may also be required to pay a deposit equivalent to one-fifth of your estimated annual billing or one equivalent to the next two months' bills (whichever is bigger). According to the PUC, REPs are allowed to request additional security deposits from customers who have been disconnected within the previous 12 months. Your service will be reconnected within 48 hours, but you may be able to pay a priority reconnection fee for faster service. Your REP will let you know of the most efficient payment method to get your service reconnected as quickly as possible.