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DEREGULATION

 

Electricity Deregulation in Texas

 

Deregulation means that consumers have a choice of their generation electricity supplier (referred to as Retail Electric Providers or REPs).  There are hundreds of licensed REPs to choose from in the State of Texas.  Some of the more common ones are Reliant, Gexa, Direct Energy, TXU, and Constellation.  No matter who you choose, your geographic location determines who your Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP) is.  These are also referred to as the Local Utility or Local Wires Company.  The TDSPs (depicted in color on the map), transmit electricity from the generation plant to your home, install and read the meters and are responsible for maintaining and repairing equipment during outages.  In most cities in Texas, the TDSPs also own and maintain the streetlights that cities pay for.

 

Even though it looks like less than half the state is deregulated, these areas cover some of the most populous parts of the state.  For the areas in white (many of which are rural), a more accurate description would be that some of it is regulated and some of it is unregulated (will explain those in a minute).

 

The five TDSPs are:

 

Oncor (formerly TXU Electric, Texas Power & Light and TXU SESCO): serves Dallas-Ft. Worth, Central Texas (including Waco) and some parts of West Texas

CenterPoint (aka CNP, formerly Houston Power & Light): serves Houston area

AEP Texas Central (formerly Central Power & Light): serves Corpus Christi and deep South Texas (commonly referred to as “The Valley”)

AEP Texas North: serves Abilene, San Angelo, North Central and West Texas

Texas New Mexico Power (aka TNMP): serves small areas of Central Texas, North Texas and West Texas

 

There are a handful of cities that are split between two TDSPs (ex: Galveston has TNMP and CNP; Lewisville is in Oncor and TNMP) and there are also some cities where part of the city is in a deregulated area and part is not (ex: Austin – a vast majority of the city is served by Austin Energy which is owned by the City, but there’s a very small portion of the city that falls within Oncor’s service area).

 

The areas in white in the map above include three categories:

 

-Regulated, Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs)

-Municipally-Owned Utilities (Munis)

-Electric Cooperatives (Co-ops)

 

The regulated IOUs are fully regulated by the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC or PUCT) like the TDSPs are REPs are.  The PUC is an agency of the State that regulates electric, water and telecommunications utilities.  https://www.puc.texas.gov/

 

Regulated IOUs include Entergy Texas (Beaumont area), AEP SWEPCO (parts of East TX and Panhandle), Xcel Energy (parts of Panhandle) and El Paso Electric (El Paso and the rest of the far West area of TX).  PUC Regulation is important because those utilities have a standard set of rules to follow, that are approved and monitored by the PUC, and customers have protection against unfair/inaccurate billing.  For example, if a customer finds they’ve been overbilled and after reaching out to the utility they can’t get a satisfactory resolution, the customer can file a complaint with the PUC and request assistance in getting the overcharge refunded.

 

Munis and Co-ops are regulated by a board of directors instead of the PUC.  See “Coop and Muni FAQs” from the PUC.  Unlike the regulated IOUs, REPs, and TDSPs, the PUC has very little to no regulation over the practices and actions on Munis and Co-ops.  We’ve encountered a couple instances when we found billing errors for a client billed by a Muni or Co-op, and the utility refused to correct the error or just flat out ignored our claim.  Without a regulatory agency to enforce rules and ensure consumers are treated fairly, there’s no standard process to escalate a claim if these utilities don’t do what they’re supposed to do.  Their Board of Directors “regulates” the utility, but there’s no oversight by an outside agency so Munis and Co-ops may not always be inclined to do the right thing.

 

 

 

 

Other Deregulated States

 

Connecticut

Deleware

Illinois

Maine

Maryland

Massachusets

Michigan

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

 

Per the U.S. Energy Information Administration Status of Electricity Restructuring by State.

 

 

UTILITY LAWS

 

By State

 

Most states have a regulatory agency that oversees the regulated utilities in that state. In Texas, the Public Utility Commission "regulates the state's electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, implements respective legislation, and offers customer assistance in resolving consumer complaints." If you are unable to resolve a billing dispute with your utility company, the PUCT will act as an arbitrator. Other states have similar agencies that go by various names. Below is a list of some of the regulatory agencies in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Agency Complaint Number In-State Toll-Free Number Website
Alabama Public Service Commission (334) 242-5211 (800) 392-8050 http://www.psc.state.al.us/
Alaska Public Utilities Commission (907) 276-6222 (800) 390-2782 http://rca.alaska.gov/
Arizona Corporation Commission (602) 542-4251 (800) 222-7000 http://www.azcc.gov/
Arkansas Public Service Commission (501) 682-0390 (800) 482-1164 http://www.arkansas.gov/psc/
California Public Utilities Commission (415) 703-1170 (800) 649-7570 http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/
Colorado Public Utilities Commission (303) 894-2070 (800) 456-0858 https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/puc
Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (860) 827-1553 (800) 382-4586 http://www.ct.gov/pura/site/default.asp
Delaware Public Service Commission (302) 739-2613 (800) 282-8574 http://depsc.delaware.gov/
District of Columbia Public Service Commission (202) 626-5120 N/A http://www.dcpsc.org/
Florida Public Service Commission (850) 413-6100 (800) 342-3552 http://www.psc.state.fl.us/
Georgia Public Service Commission (404) 656-4537 (800) 282-5813 http://www.psc.state.ga.us/
Hawaii Public Utilities Commission   (800) 974-4000 http://puc.hawaii.gov/
Idaho Public Utilities Commission (208) 334-0369 (800) 432-0369 http://www.puc.idaho.gov/
Illinois Commerce Commission (217) 782-2024 (800) 524-0795 https://www.icc.illinois.gov/
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (317) 232-2714 (800) 851-4268 http://www.in.gov/iurc/
Iowa Utilities Board (515) 725-7300 (877) 565-4450 https://iub.iowa.gov/
Kansas State Corporation Commission (785) 271-3140 (800) 662-0027 http://www.kcc.state.ks.us/
Kentucky Public Service Commission (502) 564-3940 (800) 772-4636 http://psc.ky.gov/
Louisiana Public Service Commission N/A (800) 256-2397 http://www.lpsc.louisiana.gov/
Maine Public Utilities Commission (207) 287-3831 (800) 452-4699 http://www.maine.gov/mpuc/
Maryland Public Service Commission (410) 767-8028 (800) 492-0474 http://www.psc.state.md.us/
Massachusetts Department of Telecom. & Cable (617) 305-3531 (800) 392-6066 http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/government/oca-agencies/dtc-lp/
Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU)     http://www.mass.gov/eea/grants-and-tech-assistance/guidance-technical-assistance/agencies-and-divisions/dpu/
Michigan Public Service Commission N/A (800) 292-9555 http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (651) 296-0406 (800) 657-3782 http://mn.gov/puc/
Mississippi Public Service Commission (601) 961-5450   http://www.psc.state.ms.us/
Missouri Public Service Commission (573) 751-3160 (800) 392-4211 https://psc.mo.gov/
Montana Public Service Commission (406) 444-6150 (800) 646-6150 http://www.psc.mt.gov/
Nebraska Public Service Commission (402) 471-0238 (800) 526-0017 http://www.psc.nebraska.gov/
Nevada Public Utilities Commission (775) 684-6100 (800) 992-0900 http://puc.nv.gov/
New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (603) 271-2431 (800) 852-3793 http://www.puc.state.nh.us/
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (800) 624-0241 (800) 624-0241 http://www.bpu.state.nj.us/
New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (505) 827-4592 (888) 427-5772 http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/
New York State Public Service Commission (518) 474-3280 (800) 342-3377 http://www.dps.ny.gov/
North Carolina Utilities Commission (919) 733-9277 N/A http://www.ncuc.commerce.state.nc.us/
North Dakota Public Service Commission   (877) 245-6685 http://www.psc.nd.gov/
Ohio Public Utilities Commission (614) 466-3292 (800) 686-7826 http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/
Oklahoma Corporation Commission (405) 521-4114 (800) 522-8154 http://www.occeweb.com/
Oregon Public Utility Commission (503) 378-6600 (800) 522-2404 http://www.puc.state.or.us/Pages/Index.aspx
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (717) 783-1661 (800) 782-1110 http://www.puc.state.pa.us/
Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission N/A N/A http://www.ripuc.org/
South Carolina Public Service Commission (803) 737-5230 (800) 922-1531 http://www.psc.sc.gov/Pages/default.aspx
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (605) 773-5810 (800) 332-1782 https://puc.sd.gov/
Tennessee Regulatory Authority (615) 741-2904 (800) 342-8359 https://www.tn.gov/tra/
Texas Public Utility Commission (512) 936-7120 (888) 782-8477 http://www.puc.texas.gov/
Utah Public Service Commission (801) 530-6652 (800) 874-0904 http://www.psc.state.ut.us/
Vermont Public Service Board (802) 828-2332 (800) 622-4496 http://psb.vermont.gov/
Virginia State Corporation Commission N/A (800) 552-7945 https://www.scc.virginia.gov/SCC-INTERNET/power/index.aspx
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (360) 664-1120 (888) 333-9882 http://www.utc.wa.gov/Pages/default.aspx
West Virginia Public Service Commission (800) 642-8544 (800) 344-5113 http://www.psc.state.wv.us/
Wisconsin Public Service Commission (608) 266-2001 (800) 225-7729 http://psc.wi.gov/
Wyoming Public Service Commission (307) 777-7427 (888) 570 -9905 http://psc.state.wy.us/
LINKS

 

Texas: Electric Tariffs

 

Each TDSP has a tariff of rules and regulations they follow. The tariffs are valuable resources when verifying  billing discrepancies. Below is a link to Rates & Tariffs from the PUCT website.

 

http://www.puc.texas.gov/industry/electric/rates/Default.aspx

 

 

 

Power to Choose

 

In Texas, you can choose your REP and electricity plan if you are in a deregulated area. For an accurate listing of current rates and to sign up for new service, visit the Power to Choose website.

 

http://powertochoose.org/

 

 

 

FERC

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates electricity, gas, and oil at the federal level.

 

http://www.ferc.gov

 

 

 

EIA

 

The U.S. Energy Information Association provides unbiased statistics and information on electricity, natural gas and other energy markets.

 

http://www.eia.gov/

 

 

 

Geocoding

 

We use Texas A&M Geoservices to geocode address data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office (254) 420-1200

Fax (254) 420-1219

Toll-free (800) 234-7937

audit@tristem.com