Results for tag: deregulation
In the scope of Texas’ energy market, deregulation has brought about some big changes for businesses and homeowners alike. The one you’re probably most familiar with is that you now have the power to choose your retail electric provider. For Texans, that’s huge. You can’t go wrong with more choice if you’re looking for a specific type of service.
What people sometimes neglect to acknowledge is all the other ways that deregulation is helping Texans. Here are just a few:
Keep in mind, these retail electric providers are more than just your options. They’re each other’s competitors. Like any good business, each provider will go to great lengths to gain customers and keep them satisfied. That leaves them no other choice but to offer enticing promos, more competitive pricing and a more expansive set of products. Clearly, that works to your benefit. A provider needs to hone in on every facet of its service if it wants to attract your business.
With so many providers opening their doors at the dawn of deregulation, it’s only logical that a new crop of jobs have popped up along with them. Whether it’s in the technical field, in a managerial position or on the marketing/sales side of things, retail electric providers have hired versatile, sizable staffs to keep operations running smoothly. It’s pretty neat having so many opportunities to work in a burgeoning field like the energy industry.
The benefits of choosing your own provider extend beyond the price you’re getting. Perhaps just as importantly, deregulation dictates what kind of customer service you’re getting. When you’re dealing with something as vital as your electric service, you deserve attention to detail. In the days of old, the monopoly supplier could provide shoddy customer service with virtually no repercussions. Either you moved to an area that’s served by someone else or you put up with the unresponsiveness of your supplier. Now, if you’re not getting the treatment you expect from your provider, you can switch to a new one in just a matter of days. There’s no hassle and no service interruption – only the customer service you deserve.
If you haven’t taken advantage of everything deregulation has to offer, what’s stopping you? Make sure you’re getting the service you deserve at a sensible price. And hey – if you’re on the job hunt, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look around at the opportunities within the industry.
ERCOT – As a consumer, you’ve most likely heard the name before, but do you know exactly what it does? There’re so many acronyms in Texas’ deregulated market, it’s tough to keep your head wrapped around all of them. ERCOT, however, is a big one – especially if you want to know how your electric service is supervised and maintained.
Officially called the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT was founded in 1970, becoming the primary overseer of Texas’ power grid. Essentially, that means it’s responsible for managing the stream of electricity to about 23 million electric customers. These 23 million customers all fall within the jurisdiction of the ERCOT region, which encompasses about 75% of the state’s landmass and 85% of the state’s power grid. Remember, not all of Texas is deregulated. ERCOT manages areas where residents have the power to choose a retail electric provider.
ERCOT is a nonprofit organization, which focuses on the well-being of Texas consumers rather than its own financial gain. Specifically, ERCOT serves Texans by ensuring the reliability of their electric service. It goes about doing so in a number of different ways, some of which include:
Assisting the sign-up and switching process between retail electric providers.
Helping organize Texas’ wholesale electric market and retail electric market.
Maintaining nondiscriminatory policies for buyers and sellers of electricity around the ERCOT region.
ERCOT is also part of a larger network known as NERC. NERC, which stands for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, is a macro organization that helps develop and oversee the bulk power system in the U.S. and Canada. ERCOT is one of several organizations that works closely with NERC to ensure the safety and dependability of electricity’s transmission across nearly every part of the United States and Canada.
While most Texans won’t have much interaction with ERCOT (or NERC, for that matter), they can rest assured that they’re in good hands. Every year, ERCOT works to sustain and improve the Texas customer’s electric supply. No matter your provider, no matter your plan, ERCOT is making sure that you get the most out of your electric service.
There are some misconceptions about energy deregulation in Texas, and most of them are a result of the ambiguity of the term “deregulation.” Many people believe that energy deregulation means the government has taken off its gloves and allowed the market to take care of itself. While deregulation allows for lots of freedoms on the part of retailers and consumers alike, the idea that there is no governmental oversight is not true.
Rather than an absence of government control, deregulation is best described as the absence of market conditions that foster a monopoly. Before deregulation, each utility company had a virtual monopoly on its service area. Today, areas that are deregulated have active competition between retail electric providers.
In Texas, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) still has a level of control over the energy market as a whole. You may know that some areas of Texas have yet to be deregulated. That’s because the PUC has determined that the market conditions aren’t adequate for fostering competition.
Before any market in Texas is deregulated, the move has to be approved by the PUC. Likewise, in order for a retail electric provider to begin selling electricity packages in Texas, it has to submit to the rules enforced by the PUC. Retail electric providers are required to become certified and register as retailers in Texas by following PUC procedures.
Controlling the registration process of retail electric providers is just one of the ways the PUC continues to regulate the energy market within the deregulated Texas system. The PUC also oversees the actions and decisions of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT is in charge of managing the flow of electricity around 85% of the state’s grid and administering customers’ changes to new retail electric providers.
Despite being a deregulated market in name, energy in Texas is still regulated in some regards by government and other institutions. Some form of oversight is necessary to ensure a safe, effective and competitive energy market. Deregulation does allow Texans the power to choose where they purchase their energy supply.
Regulation within a deregulated market also allows consumers to have a clear path of recourse if they are taken advantage of by a retail provider or utility company. The right mixture of regulation and freedom is what gives Texans the power to choose their electricity provider.