You’ve probably seen these four letters when you’ve been in the market for a new electricity plan. They appear on bills, websites, and even advertisements. But what is PUCT, and why does it matter?
PUCT stands for Public Utility Commission of Texas. It’s a state-run organization that regulates the Lone Star State’s electric utilities, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities. It also implements legislation and can help customers resolve issues.
The History of PUCT
In 1975, the Texas Legislature passed the Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) and created the PUCT to oversee and regulate the rates and services of electricity and telecommunication utilities. Fast forward 20 years and the combined effects of significant Texas legislation in 1995 and the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 had a direct impact on the market we see today.
It allowed for competition in telecommunications wholesale and retail services—like electricity.
In 1999, further legislation was passed that restructured the electric utility industry, allowing certain customers electricity-provider choice. Because of this, the mission of the PUCT had to pivot—from overseeing rates to protecting customers. PUCT keeps your phone and internet provider from charging you $5,000 a month for service, or $5 per kWh for electricity. In 2013, they added water into the mix for the same reason.
PUCT is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and is run by a three-member commission. Their mission is to “Protect customers, foster competition, and promote high-quality infrastructure.”
It’s a Good Thing
Every company that falls under the PUCT’s responsibilities is provided a number—usually 5-or-so digits. This helps regulate and track their behaviors. Without the PUCT, things could be scary. Companies could charge what they want when they want, and how they want. There would be no checks and balances and no commitment to the customer’s well-being.
It’s a group that is assigned to have your back. That’s a good thing.