In 2002, the Texas retail electric market was deregulated, giving most Texas consumers the ability to purchase electrical services from the retail electric provider they wish.
There are some exceptions. Consumers who are served by municipal utilities or power cooperatives may choose other retail electric providers, as long as the provider has agreed to deregulation. If a utility company still owns and maintains its own power lines in an area, deregulation may not apply.
However, since deregulation took effect in 2002, about 85 percent of commercial and about 40 percent of residential consumers have taken advantage of the opportunity to switch providers.
Electricity is delivered as it always has been, through the electrical poles and wires maintained by the same utility companies. However, you are purchasing your electricity from a retail electric provider that takes care of all the customer service and billing.
Deregulation allows electricity rates to be set through competitive pricing by the market, not by the utility companies. Marketplace competition among multiple providers has led to lower electricity rates for consumers and the potential for growth in alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power.
In 2006 Texas became the No. 1 state in the nation in wind energy production, surpassing California.
Advantages of Switching Retail Electric Providers
Search for the best price. Energy deregulation has allowed consumers to shop around for the lowest electricity rates. The competition between electricity providers greatly benefits consumers since the providers want to earn your business.
Shop for renewable energy opportunities. If supporting renewable energy initiatives is important for you, now you have more options to find green energy plans in the deregulated market. More companies are investing in green energy because of consumer demand. As the cost of electricity continues to grow, more consumers are finding ways to reduce their own electrical usage. Energy companies are doing the same, by making technological investments to allow consumers to monitor and reduce their electrical consumption during peak demand periods as a way to save money.
Find better customer service. If you are dissatisfied with the customer service you’ve experienced with your existing electricity provider, you can switch. Unfortunately, consumers living in a regulated market don’t have that option, since they may only purchase electricity from one provider. A deregulated market provides consumers with choices. If you feel you aren’t being well served by your existing company, find a new provider. It is that easy.
Take advantage of special promotions and other offers. Retail electric providers want your business, and many of them offer special promotions as incentives for you to sign up. These can provide you with extra savings that can make a switch worth it.
Many consumers may decide not to switch providers because they are worried about having a power disruption as they switch providers. This does not happen in a deregulated market. Your power won’t be shut off as you switch service providers. The process isn’t complicated or inconvenient.
In fact, consumers should find that switching providers is a seamless process, with no power interruptions or delays. Switching to a new provider can happen in less than three days.