Deregulation, What is it?
Nueces Electric Cooperative is the only deregulated Co-op in Texas, and one of only a handful in the U.S.
What is deregulation?
January 2002, Senate Bill 7 went into effect to deregulate Texas. Deregulation allows competitive energy retailers the opportunity to sell power on power lines throughout the state. While consumers can not choose who distributes their power, they can choose who they purchase their electricity from.
Deregulation was mainly aimed at Investor Owned Utilities (IOU’s) such as AEP/CPL, Oncor, and CenterPoint. Co-op’s and municipal systems were exempt from deregulation.
Why did the Co-op embrace deregulation?
To make a long story short, the deregulation process came about at the same time NEC and AEP were making a territory exchange. The transaction could not be completed unless NEC agreed to deregulate. As the Co-op is democratically controlled by our members, it was put to a vote at the 2000 Annual Meeting and the membership overwhelmingly voted it in.
What does it mean to our members?
This means that while NEC maintains your power lines and your meters, you must select a power provider from the approved list of providers who have chosen to test onto the NEC power lines.
A list of providers can be found on this website, in the center of the monthly Texas Co-op Power Magazine, or can be obtained at any of the four NEC offices.
Like any good industry, the Co-op industry has a variety of acronyms. You might see any of them pop up in local, national or co-op related news stories.
Investor Owned Utility (IOU)
A business organization, providing a product or service regarded as a utility (often termed a public utility regardless of ownership), and managed as private enterprise rather than a function of government or a utility cooperative. In Texas, these are AEP, Oncor, CenterPoint, Texas NEw Mexico Power, and Sharyland Utilities.
Municipal Utility (MUD)
When a city government is in charge of providing utility-related services such as water, sewage, and drainage services. Individuals living in a municipal utility district will be assessed a tax based on the value of their property and the current tax. Around NEC, some well known MUD's are City of Robstown, Brownsville, San Antonio, and Austin.
National Rural Electric Cooperative (NRECA)
The organization that represents the interests of over 900 electric co-ops in the U.S. to various legislatures. Independent electric utilities are not-for-profit and are owned by their members. The Association, which was founded in 1942, unites the country’s generation, transmission and distribution cooperatives which are found in 47 states and serve over 40 million people. It is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC)
Formed in 1944 by NEC and nine other Co-ops to generate our power, today serves eight distribution cooperatives by generating power using seven (7) power plants.
Texas Electric Cooperative (TEC)
Formed in 1941, TEC assists Texas’ 64 distribution and 11 generation and transmission cooperatives with legislation, employee trainings and conferences, a state magazine, and warehouse services.
Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
Is basically the “air traffic controller” of electricity throughout the state. They control the Texas electrical grid and make sure it stays balanced.
The Public Utility Commission (PUC)
The Public Utility Commission of Texas is a state agency that regulates the state’s electric and telecommunication utilities, implements respective legislation, and offers customer assistance.