Your utility company is important no matter where you live – it is often in charge of supplying electricity to your home. But in deregulated states such as Texas, the electric utilities have a slightly different job. About 85 percent of the Texas energy market is deregulated, which means consumers can choose their energy provider from a lot of different options.
In Texas, retail electricity providers (REPs) oversee generating or buying electricity. But utility companies transport that electricity to your home, maintain infrastructure, and restore power during an outage.
So, what are the largest electric utility companies in Texas? There are four main electric utilities that currently operate in deregulated areas of the Lone Star State. Read on for an overview of each one.
Oncor is the largest electric utility company in Texas and the fifth largest utility in the country. It serves more than 10 million Texans and has a distribution network spanning more than 139,000 miles across the Lone Star State.
Oncor maintains that it is devoted to innovative energy options. The utility has pledged to invest $600 million in smart-grid technology, such as smart meters and grid solutions that can predict and solve power outages before they occur. Oncor also operates a program called Super Safe Kids, which provides lessons and activities to educate children on electrical safety.
CenterPoint Energy is the second-largest electric utility in Texas. It delivers natural gas and electricity to more than 7 million residents and businesses across eight states, including Texas, Ohio, Arkansas, and Indiana.
Based in Houston, CenterPoint has operated for more than 140 years, making it the oldest utility in Texas. This utility was originally founded as Houston Gas Light Company – the company changed its name several times over the years before settling on CenterPoint Energy in 2002.
CenterPoint Energy invests in literacy and STEM programs across its service areas, with a particular emphasis on under-resourced or marginalized areas. Through the CenterPoint Energy Foundation, the utility invests in grant funding for affordable housing, sustainability, and education.
AEP – also known as American Electric Power – operates in six states and Washington D.C. and provides electricity and natural gas to residential and business customers.
AEP Texas, which is a unit of American Electric Power, is headquartered in Corpus Christi and services more than a million meters. Its service territory spans over 97,000 square miles.
Last year, AEP Texas donated $1.6 million to nonprofits and social services agencies. Through initiatives such as the AEP Foundation, the utility provides aid to organizations focused on STEM, the arts and culture, environmental sustainability, and more.
Texas-New Mexico Power – also referred to as TNMP – is the fourth largest utility in Texas. It delivers electricity to approximately 255,000 homes and businesses across the Lone Star State. Major regions that TNMP serves include Houston, Dallas, Forth Worth, and Midland.
TNMP is headquartered in Lewisville and has operated in Texas since 1981. Currently, the utility employs about 400 Texans.
This utility company offers grants to the communities that it serves, including grants for qualifying organizations, safety grants, and employee grants. It also provides energy efficiency measures to residential and commercial customers.