Even despite the deregulation act that passed in 1999 and was enacted in 2002, there are still some communities that are regulated. Municipalities, cooperatives, and investor-owned utilities make up the 15% of communities that do not fall under the deregulation act. These communities are not able to choose their own retail energy provider (REP). However, starting this year, about 50,000 people will be able pick their own REP as several Sharyland communities become deregulated. Sharyland Utilities, LP opened registrations for REPs to enter the market on February 1, 2014.
Sharyland Plantation, a small southwest Texas community located in between McAllen and Mission, TX is already deregulated. Sharyland only owns the poles in this area, but consumers can choose their own provider. There are several other communities in central Texas that are monopolized under Sharyland Utilities. The Brady, Celeste, Colorado City, and Stanton divisions of Sharyland Utilities will become deregulated early this year, giving the rest of Sharyland consumers the power to choose their own provider, and potentially save themselves a fair amount of money.
Under the monopoly utility, Sharyland customers were paying an average of 10 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but with this deregulation, they may be able to get rates closer to 8 cents per kWh. This savings can potentially add up to about $240 per year. Customers who do not choose their own provider by April 13, 2014 will be defaulted to REP in their area, who will choose an energy plan for them. This default energy plan will be billed month to month, and the rates can vary each month, according to the market. It is important to shop around for your own energy provider, as you will be able to pick a plan that suits your needs, and your budget.