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How reliable are Texas’ largest utilities?

Written by Lisa Iscrupe

Edited by Hannah Hillson

Last updated 08/15/2022


Olga Rolenko/Moment/Getty images

Extreme heat and storms put stress on the Texas power grid. The increased energy demand can cause frequent power outages and higher Texas electricity rates. So, how reliable are the largest utilities in Texas

Most Texas residents have the power to choose their energy provider because energy is deregulated in most of the state. However, energy providers are not responsible for the reliability of the state’s power system. That responsibility goes to the Texas utility companies, including AEP (divided into Central and North regions), CenterPoint, Oncor, and Texas-New Mexico Power (TNMP).  

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Most to least reliable Texas utility

We examined data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to see how each utility has responded to power outages between 20202021. Here are the five main Texas utilities ranked from most to least reliable, based on the duration of outages (in minutes) over the past two years: 

  1. TNMP
  2. Oncor 
  3. AEP North
  4. AEP Central
  5. CenterPoint

See details about the average disruption and frequency for each Texas utility in the table below.

Average interruption time and frequency in 2020–2021

Duration in minutes for 2020*Count per year for 2020**Duration in minutes for 2021*Count per year for 2021**Total minutes for 2020 2021* Total count for 2020 2021** 
TNMP110.2301.060203.7001.390131.92.45
Oncor487.6903.620558.8102.0301,046.55.65
AEP North280.1001.6741,136.6002.7241,416.74.398
AEP Central515.6001.8821,901.1003.3632,416.75.245
CenterPoint226.4311.7762,365.5514.6652,591.96.441

Data sourced from the EIA Annual Electric Power Industry Report 

*Data point shows the System Average Interruption Duration Index with Major Event Days (SAIDI with MED), which is the average time before power was restored after an outage. Major Event Days include hurricanes and powerful storms. 

**Data point shows the System Average Interruption Frequency Index with Major Event Days (SAIFI with MED), which is the number of non-momentary electric interruptions per year. Non-momentary is defined as any interruption longer than five minutes. 

Average interruptions from 2020 to 2021

The five main Texas utilities are investor-owned companies that supply power to a majority of Texans in deregulated areas. Below, we calculated each utility’s average annual interruption span based on the EIA outage data over the past two years.

TNMP

  • Average annual interruption duration: 1 hour and 6 minutes

The #1 most reliable utility in Texas, based on average outage duration between 2020–2021, is the Texas-New Mexico Power Company (TNMP). TNMP serves as the utility company for more than 260,000 Texans in Dickinson, Lewisville, Stephenville and other smaller cities.

Oncor Electric

  • Average annual interruption duration: 8 hours and 43 minutes

Oncor Electric is Texas’ largest utility, with 10 million customers throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, and more than a dozen other cities. Oncor ranks as the second-most dependable utility on our list. 

AEP Texas North

  • Average annual interruption duration: 11 hours and 48 minutes

AEP Texas North provides electric power and maintenance to nearly 200,000 residents and business owners in northern cities, including Abilene and San Angelo. AEP Texas North claimed the third-best spot for utility reliability.

AEP Texas Central

  • Average annual interruption duration: 20 hours and 8 minutes

AEP Texas Central serves about 835,000 customers in Corpus Christi and other major cities. It is the second least-reliable utility in the Lone Star State between 2020 and 2021.

CenterPoint Energy

  • Average annual interruption duration: 21 hours and 40 minutes

Nearly 2.5 million Texans in Houston, Katy, Pasadena and other cities rely on CenterPoint Energy for their electricity service. CenterPoint Energy ranks as the least reliable utility for outage duration between 2020–2021.

Experiencing a power outage?

If your home loses power or you notice downed lines in your area, contact your local utility immediately. Then, follow these tips about what to do during a power outage

TDSP/TDUAEP (Central & North)CenterPoint OncorTNMP
Contact InformationClick here to report a power outage or call 1-877-373-4858.Click here to report a power outage or call 1-800-332-7143.Click here to report a power outage or call 1-888-313-4747.Call 1-888-866-7456 to report a power outage.

Switching your Texas utility

The utility companies in Texas maintain power infrastructure within their service areas, including street lighting, smart meters, power grids and natural gas lines. Use this map to see what areas each utility covers. You cannot change to a different utility unless you are moving within Texas because your utility is based on your location.

However, if you are unsatisfied with your Texas energy rate, you can switch energy providers. Call the number on your screen to learn more about energy plans near you.

How solar can help you avoid outages

Some power outages are unavoidable, but if you are interested in a more reliable electricity supply, solar energy may be right for you. Solar panels for your home are still connected to and rely on the power grid. However, homes with solar panels connected to a solar battery can use the stored energy to temporarily sustain power to critical appliances during grid outages. Find out about reliability and the other benefits of solar panels in Texas.  

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