Transmission & Distribution Utilities (TDUs) in Texas

What is a TDU?

TDU stands for Transmission & Distribution Utility.  In Texas, these are the entities responsible for maintaining powerlines, delivering power to end users, reading meters and restoring power outages.  They are sometimes also called TDSPs which stands for Transmission and Distribution Service Providers.  You will also sometimes see them referred to as electric utility providers or “poles and wires” companies.

These delivery utilities take electricity from the grid and transform it into a usable format before sending the power down the wires and into your home.

What role do TDU’s the Texas electricity marketplace?

In Texas, the market is divided into groups of companies with different responsibilities.  Three of the most important groups are:

  • Power Producers  – Power in Texas is generated from power plants owned by independent companies.  Most of these companies are for profit companies and consist of some of the largest energy companies in the world.
  • Power Delivery  – This is the primary job of the TDUs.  They take the power that is generated by the power companies and move it around the state to homes and businesses.  The 5 major TDUs all have a defined area in which they are local monopolies.  As a Texan living in a deregulated area, you can choose your retail electricity p[provider but you have no choice in what TDU delivers your power.
  • Retail Electricity Providers – There are dozens of Texas electric companies who buy electricity from the grid and sell it to consumers.  These are the companies you pay your bill to.

Key responsibilities of TDUs

  • Delivering electricity to end users
  • Maintaining Power lines, poles, transformers, and other infrastructure
  • Restoring power after outages
  • Turning electric service on or off or transferring service
  • Installing electric meters and reading them
  • Promoting energy efficiency

Who pays for electricity distribution in Texas?

The TDUs are funded by pass-through fees that are assessed on every electricity bill in Texas.  Electricity providers usually break these charges out as separate line items on your bill.  Although some bundled electricity rate plans don’t list TDU charges separately because they are accounted for in the overall rate they charge you.

There are two types of TDU pass-through charges that will appear on your electric bill every month.  They are:

  • Flat rate TDU fees – This is a Fixed dollar amount each ESID (meter) is assessed regardless of how much electricity is used for the period
  • Per kWh fees – This is a fee that goes up when you use more electricity.

Reference this page for an updated list of TDU pass-through fees in your area.

In addition to the monthly pass-through fees, TDUs also charge fees for turning on you power or switching you to a new provider.  These are called Move In or Switch fees.

Who is my utility company?

There are 5 TDUs responsible for delivering power to Texas homes and business.  They are:

  • CenterPoint Energy – Centerpoint is one of the larger utility providers. They are responsible for delivering power to Houston and the surrounding cities
  • Oncor – Oncor is responsible for much of North Texas including the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
  • AEP Central – Covering McAllen, Corpus Christi and other cities
  • AEP North – Covering San Angelo, Abilene and other cities
  • TNMP – Covering Lewisville, Angleton, Glen Rose and other cities

Getting electricity and smart meters for new residential or commercial construction projects

New construction projects requiring electricity must work with the TDUs to get smart meters installed. Larger projects that require new poles, wires or transformers must contact the local TDU to request the installation of that infrastructure.   In order to get the electricity turned on you will have to enroll with a retail electricity provider after receiving the necessary permits.

Map of Texas TDU Coverage Areas

The map below shows the geographic coverage of the Texas TDUs.

Map of Texas TDU Coverage Areas