Texas Electricity Deregulation – A Deregulation Road Map For America

by Texas Electricity Deregulation on September 22, 2010

It’s known that when electric companies get the chance to establish a monopoly such that consumers have no competition to choose from, the companies themselves hold all the cards and the consumers are left to take what they can get, at whatever price the company deems necessary for profit.  Even though there is regulation in place, there is no competition to help drive prices down and foster innovation.  To that end, deregulation laws were enacted in Texas in 2002 – now most Texas citizens (roughly 75% of the State) can choose their Texas electric providers. That means more competition, and THAT means that customers are once again in control. Deregulation means better customer service, more innovation, lower and alternative pricing plans, and a chance to use renewable energy sources instead of “bad for the environment” and nonrenewable energy sources.

It wasn’t always that way; before deregulation took hold in Texas, a single utility would provide service to an entire area of the state, including sales, transmission, and distribution. That meant consumers had no other options but to take what they got. Deregulation has changed that, such that now, one company can handle the transmission and distribution of electricity within a given area, but other companies take over billing and sales. For consumers, this gives them a choice, sothey can have the power to choose the providers they want to work with. The Public Utility Commission oversees the entire process, to forestall any problems that may arise.

Today, about 75% of the citizens in Texas have the ability to choose the Texas power they want, and thus to control at least to some extent how much they pay, where they get their power from, and the level of service they receive. This benefits businesses tremendously as well as private consumers, and when businesses benefit, that business’s customers benefit, too.

Why? Because when businesses can choose their own electric service providers, they not only get better customer service but much lower utility costs. In turn, they pass those savings and the benefits of that improved service on to their customers in the form of lower prices for their goods or services.

At present, some 25% of Texas’ electric consumers still do not have the ability to receive the benefits of competition. That includes those in large cities like Austin and San Antonio, and those that use electric cooperatives.  Nonetheless, positive changes continue to be made in Texas when it comes to retail electric providers. Renewable resources continue to be explored and implemented, with wind farms, as one example, springing up all over the state as a means to provide clean, completely renewable energy that can be converted into electricity.

If you live in Texas and you live in an area where you can choose your provider, the best way to make sure deregulation stays in place is to utilize its benefits. Shop around for the company that’s going to suit you and your family best. In some cases, you can actually compare prices in real time between companies, all on the same website. One of those websites is Choose Energy

Once you’ve done your homework and have chosen an electric provider that meets your needs the best, and at the best possible prices, you simply place your order with the company; you should expect to receive information from them on your rights as a customer, and the terms of service agreement from your new provider as well. You don’t have to contact your old provider to discontinue service, either. Your new provider will handle that, and you’ll simply get a notice of service change in the mail. Actual change of service will happen at your next meter reading.

It should be noted that your new company will not be assuming responsibility for sending you your final bills from the old company, so make sure you address those and get them taken care of. Other than that, though, the change is completely seamless and automatic. You simply choose your new provider, and the wheels are set in motion so that you can enjoy the benefits of going with an electric provider you’ve chosen.

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