The Many Names of Texas Electric Companies

The Texas electricity market can be confusing to the average consumer.  In a deregulated market there is not just one light company or electric company.  There are multiple players within the market each responsible for certain elements of the market.

  What makes it more confusing is that different types of companies are often referred to using the same names even though they perform vastly different functions within the marketplace.  Here is a cheat sheet to help you keep the keep market participants straight.

Retail Electric Providers

Common Names

  • REPs
  • Light company
  • Electric company
  • Electricity provider
  • Utility
  • Power Company

Responsibilities of Retail Electric Providers

These are the companies whose names you are probably most familiar with.  They are the ones that sell you your electricity and send you your electric bill.  For consumers, Texas electric choice comes down to the ability to choose which company provides them with their electricity.  Retail electricity providers compete with each other to offer the lowest electricity rates and gain the attention of consumers through marketing and product innovation.


Some of the more popular Retail electricity providers include TXU, Reliant, and Gexa Energy.  Click here for a complete list of Texas electric companies.  This list includes the electric providers who are actively selling energy plans in Texas.  The Texas PUC has many more REPs registered who are either inactive or simply act as shell companies.

Transmission Distribution Utility

Common Names

  • TDU
  • TDSP
  • Utility
  • Regional utility
  • Distribution utility
  • Transmission utility
  • Poles and Wires Company

There are four major TDUs in Texas.  These companies are responsible for getting electricity from the powerplants to your homes.  They maintain the equipment including transformers poles and wires required to keep the power flowing in Texas.

  Your TDU is determined by where you live and you have no choice in who you use.

  There operations are funded by pass through fees assessed on everyone who gets power in their region.  The two largest TDUs are Oncor and CenterPoint

Texas Power Generators

Common names

  • Electricity producers
  • Powerplants
  • Power suppliers
  • Electricity Suppliers
  • Power Generators


There are over 600 power generators registered with the Texas PUC.  They are responsible for producing the power that is sold into the Texas electricity grid.

  Largely these are for- profit companies.  Although some of them are associated with electric co-ops.  The sources of power generation in Texas are as diverse as the states culture.  They include fossil fuel sources such as coal and natural gas.  There are also renewable sources such as wind and solar.  Texas has one nuclear powerplant.