The Competitive Electricity Market
In the past one company provided all parts of your electricity service
(generation, transmission and distribution, and retail sales). With
competition, these parts are separated into different companies.
Retail Electric Providers (REPs)/Electric Companies
With electric competition, retail electric providers (also known as "REPs")
sell electricity to you and routinely handle customer service and billing.
REPs compete for your business by offering a variety of different pricing
options, renewable energy options, added customer service benefits or other
Note: Not all areas of the state are open to competition. The PUC has
delayed retail competition for customers of Entergy Gulf States,
Southwestern Public Service Company, El Paso Electric Company, and AEP
SWEPCO because the PUC has determined that there is not adequate competition
in the wholesale electricity market for retail competition to work
successfully in these areas. Electric cooperatives and city-owned utilities
may decide whether their customers will have a choice of Retail Electric
Providers. Customers in these areas should contact their electric
cooperative or city utility for more information.
Power Generation Companies
Power Generation Companies own and operate power plants, including plants
fueled by coal, nuclear power, natural gas, wind, water, solar power, or
other renewable sources. Power Generation Companies sell this power at
wholesale to Retail Electric Providers, who package the power with
transmission and delivery service for sale to retail customers. Retail
Electric Providers are not permitted under Texas law to own power plants;
however, they can be affiliated with a power generation company.
Transmission and Distribution of Electricity
Regardless of which Retail Electric Provider you choose, the actual delivery
of the electricity ("transmission and distribution") is still provided by
your local Transmission and Distribution Service Provider, (also referred to
as the "TDSP"). Your TDSP will continue to be responsible for maintaining
the poles, wires, and meter that deliver and measure the electricity
consumed by your home or business, for reading your meter and providing
amount of electricity that you consume to your REP, and for restoring
service when there is a power outage.
Your choice of REP does not affect the reliability of your transmission and
distribution service or how quickly your power will be restored following an
outage caused by a storm or other event. The Public Utility Commission
continues to regulate TDSPs by setting the rates for transmission and
distribution service, setting reliability and safety standards, and ensuring
that all customers and REPs are treated the same when it comes to the
delivery of electricity to your home or business.
Repairs and Emergencies
If you experience an emergency related to your electricity service or a
power outage, call the number printed on your electric bill for repairs and
emergencies. The local TDSP will repair your service or restore your power
just as they will your neighbors' service - regardless of your Retail
Electric Provider. There is no special treatment or priority in service
restoration for customers of any particular Retail Electric Provider.