Everything You Need to Know About Electricity Supply in Texas
Did you know that Texans have had the power to choose their electricity since 2002? With residential supply on the ERCOT grid open to competition, 85% of residential customers in Texas can choose who provides their electricity supply. Here you can find out everything you need to know about your electricity service in Texas.
How Your Electric Service Works in Texas
Your electric service works in three main steps: generation, distribution & transmission, and consumption.
In the past, all three steps of the electricity service were performed by one company (often called a vertically-integrated monopoly), but when the Texas electricity market restructured in 2002, these functions were split amongst different companies.
Restructuring of the Texas electricity market means that for most Texas electricity consumers (all of those who live within the ERCOT grid), there are two main actors involved in your electricity supply: your utility and your retail electric provider.
Your first point of contact is your retail electric provider, who is responsible for purchasing electricity on your behalf, and for providing you with billing and customer services. With the deregulation of the retail electricity market, Texans can choose their retail electric provider (REP).
Did You Know?To help consumers compare what's on offer, the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) runs a website called powertochoose.org.
For a more detailed explanation of your electricity options, why not give us a call at 1 (832) 460-0233? We'll be happy to help you find an electricity contract that works for you.
Depending on the situation you may also need to contact your local transmission and distribution utility (TDU). While your chosen REP is responsible for your power supply, your local utility is responsible for delivering it - they ensure the flow of electricity to your home. They have the power to connect and disconnect your electricity, you should contact them first in the event of a power outage or electricity-related emergency.
How Are Charges for Electricity Split?
The cost of your electricity can be split into two main types of charges: the cost of your electricity supply, and the cost of delivering it to your home.
In Texas, most of the time these charges will be combined into a single price, though if you look at your EFL you should be able to see some indication of the cost breakdown. Your retail electric provider collects both costs, but only keeps what you pay for your electricity supply itself. All costs related to transmission and distribution go to your local utility.
How to Choose a Retail Electric Provider
If you're trying to find a contract for your electricity supply in Texas, look no further! We've got plenty of useful tips and comprehensive advice about what to look for when shopping for electricity. Start off by checking out some of our mistakes to avoid when shopping for electricity for some general guidelines. Continue by learning about the 10 questions you should always ask a potential energy supplier. Finally, don't forget to brush up on the differences between fixed, variable, and indexed prices for electricity in Texas, so that you can decide which price type is right for you.
Moving to a new home?
If you are moving in to a new home in Texas, you do not need to contact your utility company, but rather you need to contact your retail provider directly in order to get your electricity service started in time.
Your chosen provider will assign you an account number and an identification number that is linked to your electricity meter. They will take care of contacting your local utility company if there is a need to activate the service manually by sending a technician. This operation might take up to 5-7 days, so make sure you contact your chosen REP as soon as you know your address and your moving-in date to ensure that service is on when you get to your new home.
Remember that in Texas your REP is responsible for any customer-service related issue, and is in most cases your first point of contact for questions or concerns. However, for any technical problems, (such as a power outage or an electricity-related emergency), you should contact your local utility. You will find their emergency number listed on your bill.
Moving out and need to stop service?
You will need to call your provider in advance to turn off electric service before you move as they will be responsible for asking your local utility to turn off service at your old home.
If you are signed up to a fixed rate plan with your provider, there may be early termination fees, depending on your plan. However, many providers will let you avoid early termination fees if you provide documentation that you are moving out. Just make sure to check whether this is the case with your chosen provider and to notify them of an upcoming move within the required amount of notice (usually around 30 days in advance of your move).