Depending on where you call home in Texas, you might reside or do business within the Oncor service area. Oncor delivers electricity to more than 10 million customers in Texas, ensuring safe and reliable service across its territory. Oncor is the distribution arm of Energy Future Holdings, a company that can trace its history in Texas to 1882.
Over the years many things have changed in the Texas electricity industry, one of the most significant changes being the market’s deregulation in 2002. It was then that Oncor as it is known today was born, a dedicated transmission and distribution company. Oncor owns the electricity infrastructure in its service territory. It is in charge of maintaining that network both to provide service to residents and business owners and to ensure the safety of the public.
How do I know if I’m in an Oncor area?
Determining whether you receive Oncor electric services is as simple as looking at a map. Oncor provides transmission and distribution services in two large regions of Texas covering the Dallas/Fort Worth area and several other large communities including Midland and Odessa. Another easy way to determine if you live in an Oncor area is to look at your electricity bill. Oncor customers receive a bill for their electricity service from Oncor that includes the charges for the energy supply from their chosen retailer and service charges directly from Oncor.
Embracing the benefits of deregulation
Living in the Oncor service territory means you have the opportunity to choose among many electric companies competing for your business. Deregulation was designed to encourage competition between electricity retailers in order to provide consumers with the best service experience possible. This was accomplished by dividing the electricity industry into three parts, each with its own responsibilities when it comes to getting electricity to those who use it.
Power generation companies own and operate power plants. Whether these facilities are coal-fired power plants or wind farms, generation companies produce electricity and sell it to retailers. The retailers then sell the electricity to consumers and utility companies deliver the electricity to individual homes and businesses. Oncor is a utility in this model.
In order for a retail electricity provider to be eligible to sell electricity in a utility’s service territory, it must first negotiate a contract with that utility. Once an agreement has been reached, the retailer can begin to seek out customers served by the utility. Retail electricity providers each have their own plans and rates, and it’s the consumer’s responsibility to find the plan that fits their needs best.
For those with service from Oncor electric in Dallas, there are many retailers and plans to choose from. Before making a selection, it’s important to understand what your usage needs are, and examine all your options. Many retailers offer fixed-rate plans, which offer different benefits than plans with variable rates. Unlike variable-rate plan pricing, which is subject to change based on market conditions, fixed-rate plans offer price security. Some retailers offer fixed-rate plans with periods as long as 60 months. If you want to have a predictable bill every month, choosing a fixed-rate plan could be for you.
What to do in the event of a power outage
Living or conducting business in the Oncor service area means you can keep tabs on power outages online through the utility’s website. The page called the storm center offers consumers an interactive map outlining the Oncor service territory and providing up-to-date outage information. The page also offers a portal for customers to report outages online. In addition to summarizing outages on the map, the Oncor storm center also supplies information on when power is expected to be restored, and allows users to see live weather information that could result in further outages.
Most importantly, remember that if you live in the Oncor service area, you need to contact Oncor in the event of an outage. Because Oncor owns and maintains the electricity infrastructure in your area, it is the company to contact about any interruptions in service, not your retail provider. If you have access to the Internet despite not having access to electricity, the storm center map can help you identify if your outage is unique or part of a more widespread issue.