Terms to Know When Shopping for Dallas Electricity Providers

Dallas residents have a choice when it comes to electricity providers, thanks to the deregulation of the Texas energy industry in 2002. Since that time, a number of electricity providers have set up shop in the state, in order to compete for your business. With so many different offers, however, involving different rates, terms and so forth, deciphering the electric jargon can be overwhelming. Here is a list of terms you need to be familiar with when shopping for Dallas electricity providers:


An aggregator is simply any entity that is registered with the Public Utility Commission for the purpose of purchasing bulk electricity for its members. An aggregator can be a union, business, neighborhood group, religious community or any other group of customers.

Fuel Factor

Set by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the fuel factor allows retail electricity providers to recover the cost of fuel used for generating electricity only; they may not make a profit from fuel costs.

Peak Demand

Usually 20 or so days a year when mid-afternoon demand rises significantly above average electrical demand on the electric grid; during peak demand periods, Dallas electricity providers may offer incentives to large commercial customers to reduce energy usage.

Provider of Last Resort

An alternate provider listed as your back-up electricity provider, should your contracted provider leave the market suddenly. Your provider of last resort will step in and provide service until you obtain a new contract.

Residential Customer

A private household that uses energy for residential needs, such as heating, cooling and running household appliances. A residential customer is one of four classes of electrical customer, including industrial, small commercial and commercial.

Retail Electric Provider

A company certified by the PUCT to purchase energy in bulk and retail it to individual customers. Dallas electricity providers are all classified as REPs.

Rural Electric Cooperative

An electric utility or co-op owned by its customers, which distributes electricity to its members. Texas electric co-ops can choose whether or not to participate in Texas' competitive energy market. They also can receive low cost financing from the U.S. government.

Terms of Service

A document outlining the terms of the contract between a retail electric provider and purchasing customer, including all fees, length of contract and early termination penalties.

Transmission and Distribution

The method in which electricity is delivered to your home or business. The transmission and distribution company is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires used to transport energy, and is therefore the entity to which you must report any power outages. Your retail electric provider is responsible for billing and customer service issues only.

A complete glossary of terms is available at the Texas Electric Choice website, which was used as a resource for this article.

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