If you’re like most people, you don’t know the difference between a utility provider and a retail electricity provider. However, there’s a difference and it’s important to understand what it is.
Defining a Utility Provider
The difference between a utility provider and a retail energy provider is that a utility provider owns and operates how electricity is transmitted and distributed. They own the transmission wires that deliver your electricity, so they can decide how much to charge you for these services. As such, they’re responsible for reading your electric meter every month and handle emergencies, like power outages.
Defining a Retail Energy Provider
On the other hand, your retail energy provider (e.g. Direct Energy in Texas) supplies your power. These are found mainly in areas that are deregulated, like Texas. Some of them even offer “free” or prepaid energy options, such as no deposit electricity or prepaid electricity with free nights and weekends.
Understanding the Difference
Simply put when you want to know more about reading your meter, there’s a power outage, or you have an issue that’s related to the delivery of your electricity, you’ll want to contact your utility provider. On the other hand, if you live in a deregulated area or you have questions about the bill itself, you’ll want to contact your retail energy provider.