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What is electricity deregulation?

Electricity deregulation separates electricity production from its storage and transmission. In a deregulated electric market, different businesses can handle electricity generation, storage and transmission. In regulated markets, one utility generates or buys electricity, stores it and transmits it to customers.

How deregulated electricity markets work

In a deregulated market, electricity providers generate electricity or buy it from companies that generate it. Having multiple electricity providers available gives customers options such as competitive pricing, renewable energy choices and different term lengths.

What customers in deregulated markets should know

In some deregulated states, local utilities also generate and sell electricity, but customers aren’t required to buy electricity from the utility company. Customers can choose from either their local utility or available electricity providers.

Before signing up for electricity service, we recommend checking the local utility’s electricity supply rate by checking their rates online or contacting them directly.

Deregulation — the power to choose your rate

The electricity supply rate is how much a customer pays per kilowatt-hour of electricity used at home. With a deregulated market, multiple electricity providers generate electricity and compete to sell you electricity, which means you get the ability to choose which supply rate and provider you want.

A local utility still charges for costs such as transmission and power grid maintenance, but you may be able to lower monthly electricity costs by shopping for a provider with a lower electricity supply rate.

Which states have deregulated electricity?

The states above all have electricity deregulation. Some states have partial deregulation, though. For example, portions of Ohio and Texas are not deregulated.

Additionally, in a deregulated electricity market, a local utility still handles how electricity is transmitted and distributed, and no one can choose their local utility.

What does your local electric utility do?

The utility company transmits your chosen electricity, maintains and repairs the power grid and usually bills for electricity usage and transmission.

In some states, utilities can also generate and sell electricity, but you aren’t required to buy electricity from the utility. You may choose to buy electric service from either your local utility or available electricity providers.

Compare electric provider rates to your utility rates

Before signing up for electricity service, we recommend checking the local utility’s electricity supply rate by checking their rates online or contacting them directly.

To make sure you’re getting the best deal, enter your ZIP code at the top of the page to find local utility companies partnered with Choose Energy and Save On Energy.

What’s a cheap electric rate?

As you can see, electricity rates vary a lot by state. Right now, cheap electricity ranges from 10 to 11 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Electricity rates are subject to change based on region, market factors and electric providers. If you live in a state with a deregulated market, we can help you compare electric rates and providers in your area.

Electricity and power providers in Texas

Around 85% of Texas residents live in deregulated regions, and they must choose their electricity provider. Exceptions include Austin and San Antonio.

If you are a resident in a deregulated part of Texas, instead of signing up for power with a utility company, you can get electricity from companies known as Retail Electric Providers.

Who are the major electricity providers in Texas?

Some major electricity providers in Texas include:

Retail Electric Providers in Texas do not actually generate electricity. Instead, they purchase electricity from power generators and sell electricity to consumers. Texas is home to more than 40 electricity providers, and some specialize in selling electricity they purchase from renewable energy generators.

Shop electricity providers by ZIP code

If you live in a deregulated energy market, shopping for the best rates and plans could help you reduce your monthly utility bill. We help you find your local electric companies by partnering with Choose Energy and Save on Energy.

Tips for choosing an electricity company near you

As you look for a power company to service your home, you may want to consider:

  • Price per kilowatt hour
  • Type of rate (fixed or variable)
  • Length of available plans
  • Early termination fees
  • Reputation of energy provider

Your electricity bill, usage and equipment maintenance 

Receiving your first electricity bill and maintaining proper energy usage in your home can be a little confusing for new homeowners and renters. Especially when there’s no one there to talk you through the numbers, the equipment and the maintenance involved. We’re breaking down some of the most common questions from energy subscribers and the tips you need to know to maintain affordable service.

Reading your electricity bill

Why is my electric bill so high?

Surge protection

Propane leaks

Confused by your electricity bill? Here’s how to read it

Whether you’re deciding if you should switch electricity providers or just looking to learn more about your utility costs, understanding your electricity bill is crucial. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll find on a typical bill:

  • Account information
  • Provider contact details
  • Electricity plans
  • Your previous and current usage
  • Your amount due along with charges, fees and taxes

Reading electricity rates

The standard measurement of electricity usage is the kilowatt-hour (or kWh). A kilowatt-hour is equal to 1,000 watts being used over a period of one hour. For reference, a one-room apartment will usually draw about 500 kWh per month, while a two-bedroom house uses around 1,500 kWh.

If you have a fixed-rate plan, when you signed up for your service you were quoted a certain price for kWh. You’ll find you are probably paying a little less or a little more than that number, as it figures in flat fees and charges and was based on exactly 2,000 kWh of usage. If you use less than 2,000 kWh per month your effective rate will be a little higher than the quoted rate, while if you use more than 2,000 kWh per month, your effective rate will be a little lower than the quoted rate.

All electricity providers are now required to disclose the price per kWh you paid during that billing period. Each provider lists this in a separate place on the bill, but it will usually be near the bottom or near the fees breakdown and will say “During this billing period, your average rate per kWh was XX cents.” This factors in the energy charge along with any TDU surcharges and monthly fees.

Here’s why your electricity bill is so high (and the 3 big ways to fix it)

Maybe you’ve recently received a bill from your electricity provider that got you asking, “Why is my electric bill so high?” If so, we’ll break down some potential reasons why and how you can cut back before next month’s statement arrives. 

A high electric bill could be the result of one or more causes, including:

  • Increased air conditioning use
  • Home maintenance is needed
  • Energy vampires

Thankfully, there are a number of quick solutions at your disposal to reduce your home’s electricity consumption and help you start saving. 

Your air conditioner is a big, hungry hog

In almost every home, the single biggest cause of a high electric bill is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (also known as the HVAC system). In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating and cooling homes accounted for 29% of the 2018 residential sector electricity consumption. 

How to fix it: Fans and moderation

Change your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from your normal temperature for eight hours a day to save as much as 10% on your heating and cooling costs, according to Energy.gov. Demanding that your home constantly stays at 60°F only overtaxes your A/C system and forces it to burn through excessive amounts of electricity and too many of your dollars.

Additionally, ceiling and floor fans may not cool the air, but they do move it around to make it feel cooler. When the air in your home circulates properly, it’s easier to maintain an even and cooler temperature throughout. 

Home Maintenance to Save On Energy Bill

Your home needs some maintenance

No matter how well you take care of your home, there’s likely more you could do to help make it more energy-efficient. This is especially true for homes that are a little bit older, as they don’t have the advantages of newer materials and technologies.

How to fix it: Spend an afternoon doing some home maintenance

Take some time to do some chores around your home that are typically left for later. Put new weather stripping around your door thresholds, caulk the cracks in your windows and replace A/C filters. 

Even just completing one or two energy conservation tasks could generate savings. Energy.gov estimates that sealing air leaks could lead to 5% to 30% in potential energy savings.

Energy vampires are sucking up your electricity

When various devices and appliances are not actively being used – and are thus sitting in standby mode – they’re still consuming electricity, but as vampire energy. And, while residents may focus on their larger appliances, they often ignore or forget the little vampires sucking the dollars right out their wallets.

How to fix it: Know thy enemy, and drive him out

Vampire energy can account for about 23% of residential energy consumption each year costing an average of $165 per household in the U.S., according to a 2015 study by the National Resources Defense Council. But by implementing one simple change — using a power strip or surge protector with a single on/off switch — you’ll soon quit paying to feed the vampire energy you’ll never use.

Not only does a power strip or surge protector increase the number of available outlets in your home and protect your devices from power surges, but it also makes killing the energy vampire super easy. Simply plug as many devices as you can into the power strip, and whenever you’re not using that cluster of devices, just flip the switch to turn them off.

What you need to know about surge protection

As you invest in home electronics and smart home technology, it’s important to protect them from damaging power surges. An electrical surge, a spike in voltage beyond designated electric current levels, can be caused by power outages, lightning strikes, short circuits and tripped circuit breakers. While a power surge could damage your home electronics, there are a number of surge protection steps you can take to keep your devices safe.

Know the risk of a power surge

In instances where the surge is too high, electronic devices, as well as wires, may experience wear and tear by burning wires and causing strain. A large enough surge can destroy them which is why it’s highly advisable to use a surge protector. 

What is a surge protector?

Surge protectors are designed to not only detect the excess voltage but also divert the excessive current to the grounding wire. Therefore, a surge protector should be used at all times, especially for expensive devices with intricate microprocessors like televisions, computers, stereo systems, high-tech kitchen appliances and cell phones. 

What should you consider when choosing your surge protector?

  • Clamping voltage – Look for a trigger voltage of 400 volts or less
  • Joule rating – You’ll probably want a joule absorption rating of 700 or more
  • Response time –  A lower response time is better as it means a faster response
  • Warranty – If your surge protector doesn’t work the way it should, you want to know what’s covered, what isn’t and if you can file a claim if it fails

Surge protectors play an important role in protecting your valuable devices from damage. However, employing multiple strategies to protect your electronics and appliances (unplugging them during a storm, for example) will help you save money and enjoy using your valuables for years to come.

Your electrical service may seem like the end-all-be-all when it comes to cooling and heating your living space, but many homeowners may find themselves with a gas bill and a propane tank that they don’t know how to take care of.  Here’s how you can spot and attend to one of the most common concerns among propane take owners: a leak.

How to spot a propane leak

A leaky propane tank is both dangerous and expensive, but it can be hard to pinpoint leaks. 

Fortunately, there are a few easy things you can do to figure out if your tank is actually leaking or if there are trace lingering odors that are giving you a false alarm:


Try to listen to the tank. If it sounds like there might be a hiss, then you might have a leak. If you do not hear hissing, but you can still smell the mercaptan, then you may need to conduct a closer inspection.

Test your natural gas containers

To test the pipes and valves on top for potential problems, fill a spray bottle with dish soap and water. Spray the soapy mixture anywhere you think you might have a leak, and if you do, the liquid will form a stream of small bubbles.

Refill your tank

When your tank gets low, you may notice that appliances, such as your stove or oven, might smell like natural gas more than usual. This is a sign that you are low, and you should call for a refill.

When a technician comes, they will often fill them right to the top, which will cause a small amount of gas to be vented through the pressure relief valve. This gas can cause the area to smell mildly of mercaptan for a short time before it dissipates.

Whether it is a valve or a pipe, if your tank is leaking, you need to turn it off at the source and contact your natural gas provider. Leaky tanks are dangerous and expensive, and they need to be replaced or repaired by professionals.

Electricity service frequently asked questions

No. Switching electricity providers should not interrupt your electricity service at home.

Depending on your current power company’s terms, it can cost you money if you switch before the end of your electricity plan contract.

If you live in a regulated state, your local utility determines who generates your electricity and controls your electricity transmission and distribution. You can usually find your utility company by visiting your city government website, contacting your local government office or by contacting your landlord if you are a renter.

A fixed rate plan is an electricity plan charging the same price per kWh from month to month. In addition, a flat rate plan is an electricity plan that charges the same price per kWh no matter how much you choose. Variable electric rate plans allow your price per kWh to vary from month to month.

Utilities are regulated and deregulated at the state level, where public service commissions are responsible for overseeing and authorizing investment decisions, operations and customer rates.