Whom should I call when the lights go out?

When the lights go out you should most likely call Oncor*, which is the company that delivers our electricity.

It can be confusing, though, with all the different players in Texas’ energy grid. Here’s a cheat sheet:

Generators: Texas has 550 generating units across the state that create energy from natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind and other sources.Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 11.57.48 AM

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Electric Reliability Council of Texas: ERCOT is an independent organization that manages the wholesale electricity market in Texas. When a rolling blackout happens, it’s because ERCOT mandated it.

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*Transmission and delivery companies: In Dallas, there’s only one company — Oncor — that funnels power from the state’s generators through transmission lines and into homes and businesses. During a power outage, Oncor employees are the ones who can restore it. Call 888.313.4747 to let them know (even though your smart meter may be able to notify them more quickly).

Retail electricity providers, or retailers: These are companies such as TXU Energy, Reliant, Green Mountain Energy and others that track and bill for electricity use. They contact Oncor to turn on electricity when you move into a new house, for example, or to shut it off when you aren’t paying your bill. Retailers don’t have anything to do with outages caused by storms or power line damage.

 

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