Common Electric Definitions

Common Electric Definitions

Here are Common Electric Definitions for Texas. There are quite a few technical words, phrases and acronyms that are specific to the Texas Deregulation process. These words listed below are the common words, phrases and acronyms that one can run into. 

You can use the Search box below to find information about a specific common electric definitions. e.g. if you want to find all information regarding “ERCOT”, just type ERCOT in the search box. 


  • Electric Definitions
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  • 1. Provider of Last Resort (POLAR)

    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.

  • 2. What is an Electric Service Identifier (or ESI ID)-

    In the state of Texas, an ESI ID is a 17 or 22-digit number used to identify a unique point of electric service delivery to a premise (your home or business). You can find this on your bill as well. (Also see Understanding your electricty bill below)

  • 3. Variable Rate

    A price per KWh that is not guaranteed by a contract, as in a month to month rate. This rate is subject to the energy market or up to the REP. It can go up as high as the REP wishes or go down. This is a very risky energy situation for the consumer.

  • 4. Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDSU or TDSP)

    This is the private company that is responsible for transmission and distributions in your city. There are six companies in Texas. They are divided up by the region they serve. In the Dallas/ Fort Worth area, the TDSU (Transmission and Distribution Utility) is called ONCOR. In the Corpus Christi area the TDSU is called AEP (American Electric Power). Also known as a LDC (Lines Distribution Company) or a LDU (Line Distribution Utility).

  • 5. Transmission and Distribution

    The actual delivery of electricity over poles and wires to your home or business from the power generation facility. 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.

  • 6. Terms of Service

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

  • 7. Slamming

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

  • 8. Residential Customer

    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.

  • 9. REP (Retail Electric Provider)

    A company that sells electricity to customers. All Retail Electric Providers must be certified to do business by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. A REP is not mandated to a set energy price. The original purpose of the REP was to utilize competition to lower rates in Texas. The REP sends customers their bills. They do not service the electric lines or produce the power.

    In essence, the Retail Electric Provider is, in fact, an Aggregator as the REP joins two or more parties into a single purchasing unit and negotiates with the Energy Producers for electricity. REPs do not generate, nor deliver electricity to their customers. However, the PUC has determined that an Aggregator is something different.

  • 10. Renewable Energy

    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.

  • 11. PUCT

    Electric providers in Texas are regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (or PUCT). The Public Utilities Commission which regulates privately-owned utilities in the state of Texas. They create the rules that govern the players in the Utilitiy industry including Retail Electric Providers. They issue licenses to these organizations and have the legal ability to fine them for illegal business practices.  The PUCT It is headquartered in the William B. Travis State Office Building at 1701 North Congress in Austin, Texas. They can be reached at 1-888-782-8477. Their website address is

  • 12. Aggregator

    Aggregator – An entity registered with the Public Utility Commission that brings together a group of customers to buy electricity in bulk. Aggregators were set up by the PUCT (see definition below) to assist customers with their energy needs and help customers find a lower rate amongst the different Retail Electric choices. Aggregators utilize the bulk group of customers to leverage the REP (see definition below) to produce safer and cheaper rates by joining customers together into a “single purchasing unit”. Current Utilities is not a licensed aggregator, however Tremcor Energy was a licensed Aggregator and had been since 2003. The PUC does not allow aggregators access to their customer status in ERCOT. Aggregators are the only licensed players by the PUC that do not have access o ERCOT which has resulted in aggregation in Texas becoming a dismal failure.

  • 13. Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)

    A unit of energy equivalent to one kilowatt (kW) or 1000 watts 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.

  • 14. Letter of Authorization

    This is a form that, per its context, allows the authorized entity to act on the signers behalf for some agreed upon function. In regards to Current, we collect a LOA also called the Current Terms of Service, which allows Current to act on the customers behalf to place them with a REP and move them from one to REP another REP as needed in order to safeguard the customers interests.

  • 15. Generation

    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.

  • 16. Fixed Rate

    A price per KWh that is contracted in for the term of the contract entered. Some REP’s have a clause in their contract that legally allows the price per KWh to be raised if that clause is executed.

  • 17. ERCOT

    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas formed in 1970, is one of eight Independent System Operators in North America, and is the successor to the Texas Interconnected System (TIS). TIS originally formed in 1941 when several power companies banded together to provide their excess generation capacity to serve industrial loads on the Gulf Coast supporting the US war effort for World War II. ERCOT is one of nine regional electric reliability councils under North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) authority. NERC and the regional reliability councils were formed following the Northeast Blackout of 1965. ERCOT’s offices are located in Austin and Taylor, Texas.

    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.

  • 18. Electricity Facts Label

    An information sheet required by the PUC that provides customers with standardized information on a Retail Electric Provider’s prices, contracts, sources of power generation and emissions. It allows customers to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison of Retail Electric Provider offers. This is normally given in 500KWh, 1000KWh and 2000KWh figures.

  • 19. Deregulation

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

  • 20. Cramming

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

  • 21. Affiliated Retail Electric Provider

    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.














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