Electricity Deregulation: What Is the Best Energy Rate in Texas?
Texas took its first steps toward energy deregulation in 1999, when a bill was introduced outlining the restructuring of the electricity market. It wasn't until 2002 that the law was finally enacted to modify the electricity process that had existed for more than a century. One of the main reasons for the change was to allow competition to enter the marketplace with a goal of lowering electric rates for Texas residents.
Now Texans have the power to choose what is the best electric company in Texas. In fact, in most areas of the state, residents have to choose a retail electric provider (REP). If you have never shopped for the REP who has the best electricity rates in Texas, you were automatically enrolled with a legacy provider when deregulation laws took effect. Essentially a legacy provider is the retail arm of your utility company, formed after the energy market restructured.
By sticking with a familiar legacy provider, such as TXU Energy or Reliant, you don't know whether or not you are paying a higher rate. You need to shop around to find out who has the best energy rates in Texas in order to save money on your electricity bill. REP offers vary by location. You might discover that who has the best electricity rates in Dallas, TX, is different than the best electricity companies in Harker Heights, TX. Make sure you compare providers in the correct area for the most accurate rates.
Learning how to compare energy rates in Texas is fairly simple. First, decide what features you're looking for. You could base your decision on who has the best electric rates in Texas, the REP with the most long-term plan options or even the company with the most customer service offerings.
Regardless of what retail electric provider you choose, your utility will continue to deliver electricity to your home or business. It still owns the power lines in your neighborhood and is in charge of maintaining them. As always, be sure to report any power outages or electrical issues to your utility.
Deregulation affects the majority of Texas, but there are some exceptions. Residents who live under city-owned utilities or cooperatives do not always have the power to choose the company who has the lowest electric rates in Texas. In these areas, the utility gets to decide whether customers get to choose a REP or must continue with the rates it provides.
In addition, the Public Utility Commission of Texas has not yet opened competition to customers of Entergy Gulf States, Southwestern Public Service Company, El Paso Electric and AEP SWEPCO. The PUCT has determined these areas do not have enough competition in the wholesale market and would not be successful as a deregulated area at this time.
Natural Gas Competition Not an Option for Texas Residents
Electricity choice is big in Texas, so you might ask yourself: Do I have a choice of natural gas providers in Texas? Unfortunately, the Texas energy market has not yet opened up to competition for natural gas supply.
Texas residents still receive natural gas from their local utility and do not have the option to choose a retail supplier. However, some communities and co-ops have made arrangements with their local utility for cost advantages. For example, some cities have managed to lock in natural gas rates or secure lower rates. Many of Texas' industrial customers get natural gas directly from intrastate pipelines and have been able to purchase natural gas from nonutility suppliers for quite some time.
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