Q: What will stay the same?
A: Your current electric utility will continue to deliver your electricity. Your current electric utility will still respond to service interruptions and will continue to maintain the poles and wires. You will continue to receive the same reliable service you are used to with your current electric utility, regardless of what provider you select.
Q: What will be different?
A: You can now choose to buy your electricity from a different electric provider. The retail providers are called Retail Electric Providers or REPs. Additionally, your bill will look different than bills you have received in the past.
Q: Is there a deadline on when I can choose a provider?
A: Participation in the Pilot Program is limited to five percent of Texas' electric customers. Non-residential customers have from February 15, 2001 to March 15, 2001 to sign-up for the Pilot Program.
After the opening of the competitive electric market on January 1, 2002, there is no deadline for selecting a new provider.
Q: Do I have to choose a new electric provider?
A: No. You will have more choices, but you are not forced to switch. Your current electric utility will continue to provide you with electricity. However, on January 1, 2002, you will receive electric service from a Retail Electric Provider affiliated with your current electric utility, unless you choose to switch to a different REP.
Q: Will electric cooperatives have a choice?
A: The new law exempts electric cooperatives from customer choice unless their governing boards decide to open their markets to competition. Customers should contact their cooperative for more information.
Q: If I live in a town with a municipal electric company, can I choose?
A: The new law exempts municipally-owned utilities from customer choice unless their governing boards decide to open their markets to competition. Customers should contact their electric utility or city government for more information.
Q: How will I know which providers are interested in providing service in my area?
A: You may contact the Texas Electric Choice website at www.powertochoose.org, for a complete list of which providers are certified and where they are offering service. We can send one out to you. Providers may also contact you directly to market their services.
Q: Which provider is cheapest?
A: This is something you must investigate for yourself. Only you can decide what is the best plan for you. Ask each Retail Electric Provider for their "Electricity Facts Label," which will provide you with information on prices and terms and conditions.
Q: How do I know if a provider is reliable?
A: All providers must be certified by the Public Utility Commission of Texas in order to sell electricity in Texas. As part of the certification process the provider must submit information to prove their financial, managerial and technical abilities to sell electricity.
Q: How long have the providers been in business?
A: This will vary depending on the provider. Some companies are currently conducting business in other states that have restructured their retail electric markets. When shopping for a Retail Electric Provider, you may want to ask how long they have been in business.
Q: Which providers use renewable sources of energy?
A: Some providers will advertise that they use renewable resources. Ask each Retail Electric Provider for their "Electricity Facts Label," which will provide you with information on the electricity that the REP is selling.
Q: What questions should I ask a provider before making a choice?
A: Ask those questions that are important to you. You should be clear on what the REP's rates are. If you are not, ask. If it interests you, ask about the resources they use to generate the electricity. If you are interested in billing options, make sure you get a clear explanation of any option available to you. You should ask whether you are being asked to agree to a minimum term of service, and whether the REP can change the rate during this term. You should ask questions that help you make a choice based on what is important to you.
Ask each Retail Electric Provider for their "Electricity Facts Label," which will provide you with information on prices and terms and conditions. You can use your latest utility bill to calculate what you are paying for electricity now.
Questions to ask each provider:
The provider's offer:
Are there fees for: