Many plans require you to use a minimum amount of electricity each month. If you use less than the minimum amount, you will automatically be charged a fee, sometimes called a "minimum usage charge." This fee may or may not be listed separately on your monthly bill, so it is important to check the electricity facts label for your plan. Not all companies charge this fee or require you to use a minimum amount each month. Some companies offer credits or waivers of other fees for using a certain amount of electricity.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) has established rules requiring electric companies to provide customers with an easy-to-read bill . Unless your plan is prepaid, your bill will be mailed monthly. You may have the choice of receiving your bill electronically, if both you and your company agree. It is up to each electric company to design its bills; however, there are many bill components that companies are required to include.

It is up to each company to design its own bills. How it decides to itemize charges is its decision.

You should contact your electric company.

Billing disputes should be directed to your electric company. If disputes cannot be resolved, please contact the Public Utility Commission of Texas Customer Hotline toll-free at 1-888-PUC-TIPS (1-888-782-8477).

It is important to know whether the company or plan you are considering charges an additional fee if you use less than a certain kWh amount during a billing period. Typical usage cut-off points that might incur a fee are less than 500 or 1,000 kWh. Different companies list this fee by different names, such as "minimum usage fee." To determine whether there is a usage fee affiliated with a plan and what the minimum kWh usage is, read the plan's Electricity Facts Label or contact the electric company directly.


In 1999, the Texas Legislature passed a deregulation law that made it possible for consumers in most parts of Texas to choose their own electric company. The new law was passed to encourage free market competition and lower prices. Some areas, such as municipalities and cooperatives, were not required to deregulate, so customers in those areas may not have electric choice.

People living in deregulated areas can now choose their electric company (also called a Retail Electric Provider or REP). What did not change? The same wires companies (also called Transmission and Distribution Utilities) continue to deliver electricity to homes and businesses, regardless of which company is selling a customer electricity. Local wires companies still read meters, respond to service interruptions, and continue to maintain the poles and wires.

No. It depends on where in Texas you live. Some communities are served by municipalities, cooperatives, or investor-owned utilities, so electric choice is not available. To see whether there is electric choice in your area, visit our Home page to see if your service area is listed.

No. Regardless of which electric company you choose, your electricity will continue to be delivered safely and reliably by the local wires company, which is regulated by the PUC.

Changing Providers

No. There is no switching fee unless you request a special meter reading at a time other than your regularly scheduled meter reading. There may also be penalties if you break an existing contract with your current electric company. Review your Terms of Service agreement for details on your plan.

Customers can choose a new plan or electric company at any time (there may be penalties if you break an existing contract with your current electric company). After you sign a new contract, you will receive a mailer from ERCOT confirming your switch. Once you receive the confirmation, you will have three business days to change your mind. The switch to your new provider will happen automatically within seven business days. There will be no lapse in your service. You will receive your first electric bill from your new electric company on the following billing cycle.

Yes. You may contact the electric company to cancel your switch within three business days from the time you receive your Terms of Service agreement, regardless of whether you received a Terms of Service agreement in the mail or you signed up for service online. The confirmation that will be mailed to you will also provide a way to cancel your new contract.

You will not be without electricity. In most cases, your electric company will give you 30 days' advance notice to give you time to select a new provider. If your provider goes out of business suddenly, your electric service will be switched automatically to the Provider of Last Resort (POLR). If you do not switch to a new provider, you will remain with the POLR. Once you switch, you can begin to receive service from your new provider within seven business days. For more information read the PUC’s fact sheet, “What To Do If Your REP Leaves The Market”.

You have 60 days before your current contract ends to sign with a new provider.

How to Choose

You can see which companies are providing electric service in your area by vising our home page and if your service area is listed you will be provided service.

MyHomeElectricRate compares providers for you on the Home page after selecting your service area. You can compare rates for different contract terms and service plans.

No. When you sign a contract with a new electric company, it will contact ERCOT, which will mail you information to confirm that you want to switch. ERCOT will also notify your old company that you have changed service providers. You do not need to contact your current electric company but remember that you will still be responsible for any penalties if you break a contract with that company.

Your Rights

You have the right to choose an electric provider, which includes the right to use your original electric company. Regardless of which electric provider you choose, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) will protect your rights. If you think your rights have been violated, call the PUC's toll-free Customer Hotline at 1-888-PUC-TIPS (1-888-782-8477). Your rights include:
  • Non-discrimination: In addition to standard discrimination prohibitions, companies may not deny service or discriminate in the marketing of electric service based on a customer's income level, location in an economically distressed area, or qualification for low-income or energy efficiency services.
  • Slamming and cramming: Slamming is the practice of switching your electric service provider without your permission. Cramming is the practice of adding charges to your electric bill for optional services without your permission. Both slamming and cramming are illegal.
  • Dispute resolution: Customers have the right to make complaints about a company to the Public Utility Commission, and electric companies must promptly investigate customer complaints.
  • Privacy of Information: Electric companies cannot release any customer-specific information to other companies without your permission.
  • In addition, all electric companies must follow a new set of customer protections, by providing:
    • An Electricity Facts Label: This shows pricing information and contract terms in a standardized format so that you can compare offers.
    • A Terms of Service agreement: This is your contract. It informs you of the company’s contract terms and conditions.
    • Notice of Contract Expiration: If you have electric service with a contract term of three or more remaining months, your electric company must notify you in writing at least 30 days or one billing cycle, and no more than 60 days or two billing cycles, from the end of your contract, stating that it will soon expire. You should either renew service with your current service provider or select a new provider before your contract ends in order to prevent being automatically switched to a month-to-month, variable rate plan.
    • A "Your Rights as a Customer" disclosure: This informs you of your standard customer protections as mandated by the PUC.
    • Non-English-language materials: All electric companies must make customer information available in Spanish. In fact, a company must make all marketing materials available in the language(s) of their customers.

Electric Service

No. Regardless of which electric company you choose, your electricity will continue to be delivered safely and reliably by the same local wires company, which is regulated by the Public Utility Commission.

You should immediately call the local wires company (often called the Transmission and Distribution Utility, or TDU) for your area. You can find the toll-free number on your electric bill.

Regardless of which company provides your electricity, it will be delivered over the same set of poles and wires. These services are provided by your local wires company (often called the Transmission and Distribution Utility, or TDU), which is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires and for responding to emergencies and power outages. The Public Utility Commission continues to regulate this delivery of electricity to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service.

Yes. You will receive a termination notice giving you 10 days to pay the bill or make payment arrangements.

Slamming and Cramming

Slamming is the illegal practice of switching your electric service without your permission.

Cramming is the illegal practice of adding charges to your electric bill for additional services without your permission.

To prevent slamming, be protective of your electric account information. Do not give a provider any account information unless you want to switch to that provider. For more information read the PUC's fact sheets on slamming or cramming.

To prevent cramming, make sure you read your bill each month and understand all of the fees and charges. If there is a charge that seems strange or unusually high, call your electric company.

Slamming and cramming are illegal in Texas. The Public Utility Commission of Texas will enforce this law. If you think you've been slammed or crammed, call the PUC Consumer Hotline toll-free at 1-888-PUC-TIPS (1-888-782-8477).

If this occurs, you should call the company immediately to discuss the situation. If the provider insists they were chosen, you should ask them to send you a copy of the authorization. If the provider cannot provide it or you think you have been slammed (switched without your permission), call the PUC Consumer Hotline toll-free at 1-888-PUC-TIPS (1-888-782-8477).