What Is A TDU? Everything You Need To Know

What is a TDU? What does a TDU do? Can I choose my TDU? How do I contact my TDU?

We answer these frequently asked questions and more when we discuss Transmission and Distribution Utilities (TDU) in the competitive Texas electricity market today.

What Is A TDU? What Does A TDU Do?

The Lone Star State’s electricity grid is set up differently from many other states. In order to understand what exactly a TDU is and what it does, we first need to explain how the major players of the Texas electricity market work together to bring you power.

There are three main types of companies in the electricity market and each has a different set of responsibilities:

  • Generators – produce electricity
  • Transmission and Distribution Utilities (TDU) – maintain wires, poles, and other hardware used to deliver electricity in addition to the meters that measure electricity usage
  • Retail Electric Providers (REP) – sells electric energy to retail customers in the areas of Texas where the sale of electricity is open to retail competition. A REP buys wholesale electricity, delivery service, and related services; prices electricity for customers; and seeks customers to buy electricity at retail.

In a nutshell, TDUs physically bring electricity from the generators to your home or business and maintain all the equipment that is involved in the process. This is why you call your TDU when there is a power outage – your TDU is not only the company responsible for the infrastructure but it is also the only company that has the necessary equipment and skilled employees required to troubleshoot any problems and to restore power.

For more a more detailed look at how power gets from the generator to your home, check out our infographic about how electricity travels to you.

Another tidbit: It’s also helpful to know that TDUs were formerly called TDSPs, which stood for Transmission and Distribution Service Providers.

Who Are the TDUs in Texas?

There are five TDUs within competitive retail areas of the ERCOT region:

Do You Choose Your TDU?

No, you do not get to choose who your TDU is. Your TDU is determined by your geographic location and will remain the same even if you switch electric providers.

If you’re unsure which Transmission and Distribution Utility services your home or business, look at your electricity bill. Your TDU and their phone number should be listed in addition to the contact information for your REP.

Here’s a map that shows each TDU’s territory.

Texas-TDSP-Map-oncor-centerpoint

Map from the Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel

What Happens During Power Outages?

Since TDUs maintain the infrastructure that delivers electricity, you should immediately contact your TDU when you have a power outage. By doing so, you are not only requesting restoration of your power but this will also report much needed information to the TDU regarding the outage, which will aid in the restoration.

Many people wonder how the TDUs go about restoring power. We recently revealed how each TDU approaches widespread outages, but each company tackles outages similarly.

Public safety and emergency response type agencies that help others during crises (police, fire, etc.) and those that need electricity to sustain life receive top priority. Once these are taken care of, the TDUs concentrate on the most densely populated areas and work through to the others.

Texas TDU 24-Hour Power Outage Contacts

Do you have any more questions? Leave a comment below, and we’ll get it answered. 

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About Lindsey Perkins Wade

Lindsey Perkins Wade is managing editor of Electricity Simplified, which aims to educate Texans about the electric industry and provide tips for better energy efficiency.

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