Important Texas Electricity Terms
ERCOT, PUCT, EFL? More like WTH!? Energy Ogre recognizes there's a lot of acronyms and jargon tossed around in the Texas electricity market. For many, these strange terms can make it difficult to navigate the market and fully understand your electricity contracts and bills.
That's why we made this handy list! This page will explain many of the most common terms, making you a smarter, savvier electricity consumer. Hopefully, by defining these terms, you're never confused about what you're reading again.
Auto Pay - Recurring automatic payments from a credit card or checking account on file. Many people use autopay to make sure their electric bill is paid on time.
Average Billing - Sometimes known by other names like budget billing, is a billing option offered by REPs (Retail Electricity Provider) that helps customers budget their energy bill. Instead of paying a different bill amount for your specific electricity usage that month, you’d pay a similar amount each month based upon an average of your prior usage history. Want to learn more? Take a look at our blog: What Is Average Billing and Is It a Good Idea for Electricity?
Blackout - A failure of electrical power supply. In Texas, blackouts can be planned or unplanned. They are also referred to as a power outage.
Blend and Extend - A strategy used by Energy Ogre to restructure a member's current contract (without paying any penalties or fees) and placing them in a new contract with a lower rate for a longer duration, maximizing and securing their savings for the foreseeable future. For more information, check out our blog: Lower Electricity Rates: Energy Ogre's Blend and Extend Method.
Brownout - A drop in availability of electrical power in an area caused by excessive demand. This can be done intentionally for load reduction.
Competitive Energy Market - Also known as a “deregulated market,” is a market where homeowners can choose their own electricity company. Most of Texas is a competitive energy market. Energy Ogre can only service those who live in a competitive energy market. Look to see if your city is in a competitive market by checking out our blog: Deregulated Cities in Texas.
Conservation Request - A voluntary request from ERCOT for homeowners to conserve electricity when there is high demand and risk of emergency operations.
Contract Renewal (Renewal) - Agreeing to continue using the same REP after your original contract has ended or is close to ending. Renewal rates are typically higher than initial contract rates.
Effective Rate - Can be considered your “all-in” rate, is the amount of cents paid per kWh once all bill charges are included (electricity delivery charges, energy charges, and various taxes). For example, your energy charge could be 9 cents per kWh but after all delivery charges and taxes are added on, your effective rate is 13 cents per kWh.
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EFL (Electricity Facts Label) - A document that outlines all the specific details of a Texas electricity plan, including the price, contract length, and fees.
Electric Cooperative (CO-OP) - A private, non-profit company whose purpose is to deliver electricity to its customers or members. Most of Texas has a competitive electricity market but there are some CO-OP areas that are non-competitive. Homeowners in CO-OP areas don’t have a choice to choose their own REP. Energy Ogre cannot service those living in a CO-OP area. Read our blog for more info: Electric Cooperatives in Texas.
Electric Grid - Officially the Texas Interconnection, but more readily known as just “The Grid,” the interconnected power transmission system managed by ERCOT that is under the jurisdiction of the PUCT and that is not synchronously interconnected with either the Eastern Interconnection or the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.
Electricity Delivery Charges - Mandatory fees collected by TDSPs (Transmission Distribution Service Provider) that pay for the physical delivery of electricity from the plant to your home, and contribute to the upkeep of transmission poles, electricity wires, and other infrastructure associated with power delivery. Take a look at our blog to learn more: Why Do I Have High Electricity Delivery Charges.
Electricity Management - A person or organization that controls all electricity provider interactions, payment, contracts, and any other issues that arise.
Energy Broker - A person or organization that procures electricity rates for their clients. To learn more, read our blog: How Do Energy Brokers in Texas Help you Shop for Electricity?
Energy Charges - The rate you’re charged by your REP for how many kWhs are used.
ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) - ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load.
ESIID (Electric Service Identifier ID) - The 17 or 22-digit number used to identify a unique point of electric service delivery to your home or business.
ETF (Early Termination Fee) - A charge levied when a party wants to break the term of an electricity contract. ETFs can be avoided if you’re moving or if you switch companies no earlier than 14 days before your contract expiration date. To learn more, check out our blog: What's an Early Termination Fee (ETF)?
Fiduciary - A person or organization that makes decisions on behalf of another party acting in the client’s best interests.
Fixed Rate - The price you pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh) stays the same throughout your contract. So even if market prices change, your energy rate won't be affected. For more information on rates, read our blog: How to Choose Between Types of Electricity Plans in Texas.
kWh (Kilowatt Hour) - A unit of electricity that REPs use to measure the amount of energy a household uses in a monthly billing cycle. Want to learn more? Read our blog: Texas Energy Rates: What is a Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)?
POLR (Provider of Last Resort) - A retail electricity provider (REP) that accepts new customers under certain market conditions, particularly when another REP goes out of business. The electricity plans these new customers are placed in are almost always more expensive than the average plan. To learn more, read our blog: What is a Provider of Last Resort (POLR)?
PowertoChoose.org - A government-owned electricity shopping website for Texans. It is intended to help Texans find electricity plans and is managed by the PUCT. For more information, check out our blog: Energy Ogre vs Power to Choose - What's the Difference?
Prepaid Plan - A type of electricity plan where you pay before the electricity is used. These plans are usually more expensive than normal plans. Prepaid plans can have power turned on quicker but can also have power turned off without notice if your balance falls below the disconnection balance. Learn more about prepaid plans by reading our blog: Prepaid Electricity Plans in Texas.
PUCT (Public Utility Commission of Texas) - The PUCT regulates the state's electric, telecommunication, water and sewer utilities, implements respective legislation, and offers customer assistance in resolving consumer complaints.
Renewable Energy (Green Energy) - Energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power. To learn more, read our blog: Renewable Energy Plans.
Renewable Energy Credit (REC) - An instrument that assigns property rights to 1MWh of electricity generated from renewable sources. Since all forms of electricity travel through the grid to our homes and businesses simultaneously, RECs represent how much green energy was purchased and used by consumers who’ve chosen green plans. Learn more about RECs here.
REP (Retail Electricity Provider) - A company that sells electric energy to retail customers in the areas of Texas where the sale of electricity is open to retail competition. A REP buys wholesale electricity, delivery service, and related services, prices electricity for customers, and seeks customers to buy electricity at retail.
Smart Meter - A digital meter that records electricity usage and sends the data to the local TDSP/TDU. Most homes and businesses have smart meters instead of older analog meters.
Smart Meter Texas (SMT) - Smart Meter Texas is a service managed by the four major utilities in Texas. They keep track of your electricity consumption and provide a portal to view how much electricity you have used in the past. Learn more about SMT here.
Snooze - Freezing your Energy Ogre membership before it starts until your current contract ends. Members do this to avoid paying ETFs. Take a look at our blog to learn more: If You Snooze, Then You Won't Lose!
Solar Buyback Plans - An electricity plan that allows customers to sell energy generated by their home’s solar panels back to the grid for credits on their electricity bill. For a more comprehensive article on solar panels, please read our blog: Solar Panels for Home Energy: Pros & Cons.
TDSP (Transmission Distribution Service Provider) or TDU (Transmission Distribution Utility) - TDSPs own/operate, for compensation, the equipment/facilities to transmit and/or distribute electricity in Texas. TDSPs are regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and are required to provide non-discriminatory access to the grid. Examples of TDSPs in Texas are CenterPoint, ONCOR, Texas-New Mexico Power, AEP North, and AEP Central.
Teaser Rate - A rate that looks cheap at certain usage levels, but has tiered rates, bill credits or a flat bill amount that makes it more expensive than initially thought. For more information on rates, read our blog: How to Choose Between Types of Electricity Plans in Texas.
Temporary Meter - An electricity meter that is used for the construction of a home or building. Once the construction is complete, a new, permanent meter is installed.
Time of Use Plan - A type of electric plan that changes your kWh rate depending on the time of day the usage takes place. These plans can be alluring at first glance but are usually more expensive than they seem. For more information on rates, read our blog: How to Choose Between Types of Electricity Plans in Texas.
Transfer of Service - Moving your electricity service from one location to another.
Variable Rate - The price you pay per kWh for electricity may be determined by the market or other factors considered by the REP. Since the market cost of electricity changes frequently, your rates could too. For more information on rates, read our blog: How to Choose Between Types of Electricity Plans in Texas.
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Time to take electricity shopping off your plate!
We know learning all of these terms and developing a firm understanding of the electricity industry can be overwhelming.
Don’t you wish there was a company that could handle all of this electricity craziness for you?
Well, say hello to Energy Ogre!
Here at Energy Ogre, we can manage your electricity to the lowest-possible cost.
For just $10 per month, you always know that you're getting a secure, fixed-rate electricity plan at the best price.
And we back our service with a satisfaction guarantee.