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Texas is a national leader in producing and providing utility services. Our wealth of natural resources and large population push electric, gas, and telecom providers to innovation in the form of superior products and services. As of January 1, 2002, Texans have the right to choose retail utility providers for themselves, giving Texans the right to choose the best company for their needs, residential and commercial alike.

Utilities in Dallas
Utilities in the Development Process
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  Animation Photos, photos by Troy Ogilvie

Utilities in Dallas
Texas is undergoing deregulation of its utilities services. To date, there are six Retail Electric Providers in Texas: Entergy Solutions, First Choice Power, Inc., Green Mountain Energy Company, The New Power Company, Shell Energy, TXU Energy Services, Inc.
, and Oncor .

The Texas Electric Choice Pilot Program is a project designed to help retail electric consumers connect with the best provider for their needs. Visit the program webpage for more information on companies offering business and/or residential service in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, as well as useful guidelines for rate comparison.

Telephone Service
There are nearly 500 companies providing competitive telephone/telecom service in the state. The Texas Public Utilities Commission maintains a directory of providers available on their website.

City of Dallas Services

Water and Wastewater

Points to Remember about Utilities in the Development Process

What you need to find out from your utility provider(s):

Industry dynamics
While deregulation brings the price of power down, it also demands an informed consumer. You should know not only who provides your electricity, but also who controls the transmission of it. If you are a high-volume consumer, contact both companies to make sure they can support your needs. In places like Texas, one company could be providing your power by using the grid of another.
If you are looking nationally, or if you'd like to get a grasp the national utilities industry, the American Public Power Association website has a wealth of information. Another good goldmine for industry data is the Edison Electric Institute site.

Electric Power
Before you contact utility companies, you should be able to give them estimates about your expected kwh consumption, the number of shifts your operation will have, and how many days per week you will be functioning.

  • Reliability - what are the frequency of shortages, outages, spikes, surges, and other possible interruptions?
  • Availability of service at the chosen site
  • Capacity - can local providers give you the power you need?
  • Cost - This is where you should focus - industrial and commercial rates may not be the same per kilowatt-hour, and the rates may change with seasonal demand. Also, ask about special reductions if you know you will be a large volume user.


  • Service area - if you need natural gas service, are there pipelines on site? Where is the nearest main and what is its capacity?
  • Shortages - can service be guaranteed over the length of the contract (if there is one)?
  • Price stability - Find out if there is a way to track local prices over a period of time so you can see changes. The American Gas Assocation is made up of gas service providers across the United States, and publishes a buyer's guide annually.
  • Propane - Cost and availability as an alternative to natural gas in your area.


  • Sources - Will the water come from an aquifer, a river, a lake, or other sources?
  • Reserves
  • Issues related to availability

Water Treatment

  • Location of plant and its distance from your facility.
  • Availability - In millions of gallons per day
  • Expansions - Ask about planned expansions, and the resulting changes to service area and water treatment costs.
  • Lines - Where are they located in relation to the proposed site, and what is their capacity?
  • Water content
  • Connection fees
  • Is well installation possible if water treatment service isn't available?


  • Location of plant
  • Type of treatment
  • Availability - In millions of gallons per day
  • Solid waste disposal
  • Landfill location
  • Landfill capacity

Telecommunications - For each carrier, ask questions about the following telecom issues:

  • Digital/analog switching
  • ISDN/DSL features
  • Cost of lines by category
  • Installation costs
  • Availability of fiber optics
  • Number of ISPs
  • Long distance carriers
  • Satellite communications
  • Zoning
  • Vendors
  • Line of sight
  • No site can be developed without utilities; be sure to confirm whether all the needed utilities (gas, electricity, water, sewer, telecom lines) are easily accessible from your proposed location.
  • Seek out local utilities providers once you have a plan in place; they will often help you identify your needs.
  • With the onset of electric deregulation, companies and developers need to take reliability and capacity into consideration. Aside from those concerns, you should also figure out whether or not your company is a larger power consumer, and contact local providers. There may be insufficient capacity for your needs. If the capacity exists, however, and you are a large volume user, there may be special pricing.
  • When choosing a natural gas provider your primary concerns should be those of any consumer - price and customer service. Again, as with electricity, you should determine your level of natural gas consumption. There may be special pricing for high-volume consumers.
  • Due to rapid evolution in the telecommunications industry, it is sometimes difficult to predict what your company's needs and wants will be. The best strategy is to assess current needs, and use that information to choose an appropriate service. Future requirements will likely change, but so will the market for providers.
  • Depending on your type of business, you'll want to search out the nearest hazardous waste disposal plants, recycling centers, and landfill providers in the area. It is also a good idea to establish whether or not municipal government controls these services; private providers may exist in the local and/or state market as well.
  • If your company is likely to put stress on local wastewater utilities, it is vital to understand the wastewater market in the prospective area. Make or find a list of providers, with information on capacity and cost. Information can likely be obtained municipal governments.
  • As with the other utility services, the key to getting the water service you need lies in obtaining the proper information. Look for data on water cost, capacity, and storage in the area.

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Electrical Power
Natural Gas
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