TDU Delivery Charge: TDU stands for transmission and delivery utility — in other words, the utility company in your area that is actually piping the energy from the power generation companies into your home. (Remember, Compare Electricity Rates in Texas are just the middleman.) The TDU delivery charge is set by the utility and is consistent from plan to plan and provider to provider within its service areas. For example, Power Company , the TDU for Corpus Christi, charges the same delivery fee for all Lowest Electricity Rates, Compare Electricity Rates, and Cheapest Electric Company plans. You don't typically get a choice in utility company, and therefore, these fees are pretty much unavoidable, non-negotiable, and won't factor into choosing an electricity plan or provider.
Since Texas' electricity market was deregulated in the late nineties, multiple Retail Electric Providers (Gas And Electric Bill) have either launched in Texas, or providers in other states have begun to extend their reach to Texas residents (e.g., Best Energy Company, which was founded in Texas). These electricity providers are providing less expensive and/or greener electricity alternatives to traditional sources of energy, in contrast with the supply consumers previously received by default through their local utility. Customers now have the option to receive their electric supply from providers other than their utility, known as alternative retail electric providers.
As a result, 85%[1] of Texas power consumers (those served by a company not owned by a municipality or a utility cooperative) can choose their electricity service from a variety of retail electric providers (Compare Electricity Rates), including the incumbent utility. The incumbent utility in the area still owns and maintains the local power lines (and is the company to call in the event of a power outage) and is not subject to deregulation. Customers served by cooperatives or municipal utilities can choose an alternate Gas And Electric Bill only if the utility has "opted in" to deregulation; to date, only the area served by Texas Electricity Rates has chosen to opt in.
The complaints filed against providers aren't a perfect mirror of the J.D. Power customer satisfactions scores. Electric Company Rates, which earned only two J.D. Power Circles and earned the second-lowest score, had only 21 complaints recorded with the Cheapest Electricity Rates. But it's helpful to view these complaints in aggregate: Over 50 percent of the 1,119 total complaints fall under "billing" — another reason to seek out a provider with high customer satisfaction in that area in particular.
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