In what looks to be the first major regulated area opening up since the initial deregulation in 2002(that I can remember, there may have been others), Sharyland Utilities is set to transition to a deregulated electricity market. Starting in January 2014, Sharyland Utilities and their 44,000 residential and commercial customers in 28 different counties of Texas, will be open to electric competition. Some of the bigger territories include Brady, Celeste, Colorado City, Stanton, Mission and McAellen.
What makes this process interesting is that Sharyland doesn’t have an incumbent electricity provider for customers to default to when the regions open up to electric competition. So they’re actually going to have to pick someone to be the “default” provider, and then let customers know that if they don’t select someone from the competitive market, then they’ll be moved to the “default provider.” It should be a pretty interesting process for customers. No word on whether these people will be folded into an existing TDSP or remain their own entity with different rates.
From a business perspective for the electricity providers, 44,000 potential customers is no small amount at which to sneeze. Some of the smaller providers operating in Texas don’t even have 44,000 customers on their books. I would be extremely surprised if most of the electricity providers in Texas wouldn’t start making their presence felt in the Sharyland footprint with advertising and other materials in an effort to sway future customers.
Sure, none of this happens until 2014, which is still more than two years away. And while that might seem like plenty of time, I’d be willing to wager that won’t stop most of the electricity companies in Texas from trying to get a head start on shopping their brand.
If you currently are serviced by Sharyland Utilities and are curious to learn more about this process, there’s a great article with a ton of details written by Paul Ring at the always information Energy Choice Matters. You can link to that article here.