Electric Companies: Finding Your Ideal Provider
Since the beginning of deregulation in 2002, Texans have the option of purchasing electricity from electric companies other than their utility. With a wealth of energy retailers available to you, it’s tough to know where to begin when it comes to choosing a new electric company. Take a look at the different types of businesses and their respective strengths and weaknesses. After doing your research and taking your energy and budgetary needs into consideration, you’ll be able to pinpoint what kind of retail electric provider, or REP, is best for your household or business. You might find that your best course of action is to switch electric companies.
Utilities and electric products
Utilities, also known as wires companies or transmission and distribution service providers, are the businesses that own and operate the physical components that bring you electricity. Your utility makes sure that electric products flow from the generation facility all the way to your address. It is in charge of transmission, the process of transporting energy from a power plant to an intermediary substation. These companies also manage distribution, the final state of electricity’s journey from the substation to individual homes and businesses.
Utilities operate in their assigned areas. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, is a nonprofit corporation that manages one giant electrical grid that serves the majority of the state. In fact, this grid handles 85% of Texas’ electric load, serves 23 million customers and connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines. The ERCOT grid is unique in that it is separate from out-of-state electrical grids. One of ERCOT’s responsibilities relates to the switching of electric companies. If you live in the ERCOT service area and choose to switch REPs, ERCOT will send you a postcard confirming the transition.
Retail electric providers
REPs vary greatly in their structure and electric products. One of the many benefits to deregulation is that Texas consumers are able to give their business to electricity retailers that they feel best meet their needs or reflect their values.
When you’re shopping for your ideal REP, take a look at the company’s size. Large electricity companies might be able to offer a great range of products and services, plus they might have more resources and financial strength than a smaller electricity provider. On the other hand, small electricity retailers might specialize in meeting the needs of regional customers or these electric companies might be able to offer better customer service.
Ask yourself, “How old is this company?” Old REPs might be larger and have the exceptional expertise that comes with longevity. In addition, if a company has been around for several decades, this could be indicative of the provider’s quality of service. Electric companies with lousy electric products and customer service don’t thrive as well in a competitive market. However, new electricity retailers come with advantages as well. REPs that are new to the industry might have a fresh outlook on service. Some newer electric companies offer innovative electric products and incentives to customers.
Look into the values of various REPs. Some electric companies are more committed to offering low rates, while others place a heavier emphasis on supporting environmental initiatives. You’ll probably also find electricity retailers that try to strike a healthy balance between those two priorities. Since the electricity industry is vast, many electric companies have the financial means to contribute to their communities. Many REPs support various charities or sponsor local education programs. The nature of these causes can differ greatly. Some electricity retailers place a focus on the environment while others donate time, money and manpower to social causes.
CompareElectricRatesInTexas.com is here to help you narrow the field. With the right electric company and electric products, you can potentially achieve great savings.