Deregulation 101 Frequently Asked Questions for Texas, Deregulation 101

Deregulation 101 FAQs

  • What is a Transmission and Distribution Service Provider?

    Also known as the TDSP or utility company, the Transmission & Distribution Service Provider transmits and delivers the electricity to the homes and businesses for its service area along the poles and wires. This company is responsible for maintenance and repair of these poles and wires as regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT). The TDSP also reads the meters for your area and delivers those meter readings to the Retail Electric Provider (REP, also known as electricity company) of your choice. Examples of TDSPs in Texas include CenterPoint Energy, Oncor Electric Delivery , AEP North, AEP Central, and Texas-New Mexico...

  • What is a Retail Electric Provider?

    Also known as the REP or electricity company you chose for your home or business, a Retail Electric Provider is a company that has been approved by the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUCT) to sell electric services.

    A REP is different from the Transmission & Distribution Service Provider (TDSP, also known as the utility company) for your area. The TDSP owns, maintains, and reads the lines, poles, and meters for a given area. You cannot choose your TDSP, but you can choose your REP if you live in a deregulated part of Texas. The REP secures the power you use, the TDSP gets the power to your home.

    For example, if you presently receive an electric bill from Direct Energy, then Direct Energy is your...

  • What is the Public Utility Commission of Texas?

    The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) is the state agency that is responsible for the regulation and oversight of electric services in Texas. The PUCT regulates the delivery of electricity to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service. The mission of the PUCT is to protect customers, foster competition, and promote high quality infrastructure. Companies like Direct Energy work direct with the PUCT to provide power to your home or...

  • What is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas?

    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (also known as ERCOT) is the corporation comprised and governed by a board of directors from investor and municipally owned electric utilities, generators, independent members, and consumers to maintain and ensure the reliability of the power grid that operates in the State of Texas. They make sure you get electricity into your home or business. ERCOT is a membership-based nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of...

  • Do all Texans choose their electricity company?

    Most Texans have the ability to choose the electricity company for their home or business. Over 60% of the state is deregulated, but some areas are served exclusively by some electric cooperatives (also called co-ops) and municipally owned electric utilities. To determine if you live in a deregulated part of Texas, please contact the company that creates your electricity bill each...

  • What is a Municipally or City-Owned Utility?

    A municipally or city-owned utility is a non-profit electricity provider that is owned and operated by the municipality it serves. Texas city-owned utilities may decide whether or not their customers will have a choice of Retail Electric Providers (REPs). Customers should contact their electric cooperative or city utility (as in, the company that currently generates your electricity bill) for more...

  • What is an Electric Cooperative?

    An Electric Cooperative (also known as a Co-Op) is a customer-owned electric utility that distributes electricity to its members. If your area is serviced by a Co-Op, that company is the exclusive provider for electricity in that area. To learn more information about how co-ops operate and/or to learn how you can bring deregulation to your area, please contact your electricity company (the company that generates your electricity bills) or your city...

  • What is a Provider of Last Resort?

    The Provider of Last Resort (POLR) becomes your provider when your Retail Electric Provider (REP) exits the market for any reason. If your REP were to go out of business, the POLR becomes your temporary REP so that you do not experience an interruption in service. Think of the POLR as a safety net.

    If the REP for your home or small business goes out of business, you can expect the following:

    • You will be contacted by mail, e-mail, and/or phone by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) with the news that your REP is going out of business and that you are slated to be moved to the POLR.
    • The POLR for your area is determined by the Texas PUC.
    • You have up to 60 days to choose a new REP after being contacted by the Texas PUC about being moved to the POLR.
    • The rate you are charged by the POLR can be much higher than standard industry rates, because the POLR has to account for a sudden influx of customers when your REP goes out of business.

    To learn more about POLR policies in case your REP goes out of business, you are welcome to read this document from the Texas...

  • What is an ESIID?

    ESIID stands for "Electric Service Identifier ID," and it is used for electricity customers in Texas. It is the 17 or 22-digit number used to identify a unique point of electric service delivery to your home or business. The ESIID for your home or business is combines information pertaining to the Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP, also known as the utility company) for your area and your physical street address. This is not the same as your meter number or your account number with Direct Energy, and the number is not assigned or generated by Direct...

  • Who will come if I have a problem with my electricity?

    If there is an outage at your home or business or if there is trouble with the power lines, poles, and/or meters, the utility company for your area will respond to these concerns and will continue to provide any/all services necessary to maintain electricity service. This is true no matter which Retail Electric Provider (REP) you choose for your home or business.

    If there is an outage at your home or business that is related to a past-due balance, please call Direct Energy Customer Service at [site_phone_number]] to speak with a representative for...

  • What is Deregulation in Texas?

    In the past, one company provided all of the parts of the electricity service to your home. This included generation, transmission, distribution, and retail sales. Now that the electricity market has been deregulated in Texas since 2002, the companies responsible for generation, transmission, and retail sales are separate entities. Since there is competition for the retail component of your electricity service, you have the power to choose which company will serve as your Retail Electric Provider (or REP).

    The Transmission & Distribution Service Provider (TDSP, also known as the utility company) for your area will continue to service your electricity poles and wires, and should be contacted in the event of outages. There are 5 different TDSPs that service Texas: Oncor Electric Delivery , CenterPoint Energy, TNMP, AEP North, and AEP...

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