Great question! While most of the state of Texas deregulated its electric utilities in the late 1990’s, some local electric utilities remained regulated. In fact, when Texas electricity deregulation was first passed into law, it was mandatory for investor-owned utilities like AEP Texas, Oncor, TNMP, and CenterPoint. But, for municipally-owned utilities and electric cooperatives, deregulation is optional.
Many of the electric utility companies around the Austin area are owned by local municipalities and never became fully-deregulated. On the other hand, electric cooperatives or coops are owned by their customers and profits are either reinvested or distributed. Some of those utilities that never became fully-deregulated include: Bastrop Power, Bluebonnet Electric Coop, Georgetown Utilities, Austin Power, and San Marcos Electric.
If you happen to live in an area with a municipal utility or electric coop, unfortunately you do not have the option to shop for a competitive electricity rate. On the other hand, if you happen to live in cities such as Round Rock, which are in the Oncor service territory, you can and must shop for a third-party competitive electric provider.