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The Affiliate Retail Electric Provider was part of the original electric company that generated and sold electricity in your area. Now, the Affiliate Retail Electric Provider only sells electricity and provides customer service. It does not operate or maintain distribution and transmission wires.

An entity registered with the Public Utility Commission that brings together a group of customers to buy electricity in bulk.

An agreement worked out between a REP and a customer that allows you to pay approximately the same amount for your electricity each month, with the balance to be trued-up periodically to account for over or under payments. All Retail Electric Providers are required by the PUC to offer average payment plans.

A non-profit utility that is owned and operated by the city it serves. In Texas, city-owned utilities may opt into the competitive retail electric marketplace. See also “Municipally Owned Utility.”

One of three commonly used designations for classes of customers. The others are residential and industrial. Commercial customers are not involved in manufacturing. Examples of commercial customers are retail stores, restaurants and educational institutions.

A Retail Electric Provider that is certified by the PUC and competes for your business by offering lower prices, renewable energy options, added customer service benefits or other incentives.

Adding charges to a bill without a customer’s approval. This practice is illegal and penalties are enforced by the PUC.

Removal or relaxation of regulations or controls governing a business or service operation like utilities.

The corporation that administers and maintains the reliability of the state's electrical power grid. When you choose a new Retail Electric Provider, this group will send you a postcard confirming your switch from one Retail Electric Provider to another.

The production of electricity. In Texas, electricity is produced by a number of methods, including natural gas, coal, nuclear power, wind, water and solar energy.

One of three commonly used classes of customers. The others are commercial and residential. Industrial customers typically have the highest demand for electricity. Examples of industrial customers are a factory or manufacturing plant.

A unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (kW) of power expended for one hour of time. The amount of electricity you use each billing period is expressed in terms of a kilowatt-hour, and is noted on your bill.

The company that transmits and delivers electricity to a customer's home or business along the poles and wires (formerly a local electric utility). This company is still responsible for maintenance and repair of these poles and wires. The local wires company does not offer preferential treatment to any customer over another when performing switches or restoring power after an outage.

A non-profit utility that is owned and operated by the municipality it serves. In Texas, municipally owned utilities may opt into the competitive retail electric marketplace. See also “City-Owned Utility.”

The highest 15- or 30-minute demand recorded during a 12-month period.

The Provider of Last Resort serves as the “back-up” provider when a Retail Electric Provider leaves the market for any reason. If this happens, customers may switch back to the Affiliate Retail Electric Provider or choose another competitive Retail Electric Provider offering electric service in their area.

The state agency that is responsible for the regulation and oversight of electric and local telecommunication services in Texas. Under Electric Choice, the PUC regulates the delivery of electricity and enforces customer protections.

Electricity that is made from “environmentally friendly” fuel resources, such as wind, water, biomass or solar. Sometimes referred to as “green” energy. Information on a Retail Electric Provider's generation sources can be found on its Electricity Facts Label.

One of three commonly used customer classes. The other two are commercial and industrial. Residential customers include private households that utilize energy for such needs as heating, cooling, cooking, lighting and small appliances.

The reorganization of traditional monopoly electric service to allow operations and charges to be separated or “unbundled” into generation, transmission and distribution and retail services. This allows customers to buy retail electric service from competing providers.

A company that sells electricity to customers. All Retail Electric Providers must be certified to do business by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Switching electric service without a customer's approval. This practice is illegal and penalties are enforced by the PUC.

A contract between a Retail Electric Provider and a customer that outlines fees, length of service and other important information.

The actual delivery of electricity over poles and wires to your home or business. These services are provided to you by your local wires company, which is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires, and responding to emergencies and power outages as always. The PUC still regulates transmission and distribution to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service.

This is the amount of electricity you used during the billing period listed in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This will be listed on your electric bill as kWh used.

A document that informs you of your rights as mandated by the PUC. Retail Electric Providers must provide you with this disclosure.