As with any city, county, or state, there are specifics about utility providers and regulations that are unique to that region. Houston is no different in this regard. Here’s a Houston homebuying tip for those needing to set-up their Utilities.
Houston (and Texas for that matter) is unique in the fact that we have a deregulated electricity industry. In most regions around the country, there is one electric utility that both owns and operates the infrastructure that delivers electricity to your home and directly sells you the electricity that is delivered. In Houston, one company (namely Centerpoint Energy) owns the infrastructure, but there are a multitude of companies that you can purchase the actual electricity from. This framework allows consumers to shop for electricity in an open market to find the lowest rate or find an electricity provider that delivers electricity from sources you prefer, like from green technologies. The city of Houston and the state of Texas have created some excellent resource for shopping rates and providers. Visit powertochoose.com to get started.
Alternative Energy Options
For Houstonians interested in solar energy options, LocalSun generates and supplies locally produced renewable electricity powered by solar farms that it owns and operates in the community. The program is packaged into a simple, monthly electricity plan that has no upfront costs or cancellation fees. For more information, visit localsunenergy.com.
Gas is a little bit different than Electricity. Unlike Electricity, Gas is a monopoly system. Centerpoint Energy is the provider in Houston for most households. You can set up your Gas via their website at centerpointenergy.com or call them at 713-659-2111.
For most Houstonians, Water Service is going to be managed through the City of Houston. However, if you live in one of the smaller towns or cities (such as Bellaire, or the City of West University) in the Houston Metro area, it may be offered by those localities. To contact the City of Houston and set-up your Water Service, visit houstonwaterbills.houstontx.gov or call 713-371-1400.
Check with your Realtor, Landlord, or Property manager regarding garbage pick-up. Many neighborhoods and Homeowners associations contract with private garbage pick-up to serve the homes under their jurisdiction. However, many cities and towns within the Houston Metro area contract garbage pick-up through their local city or town. If your garbage pick-up is serviced by the city of Houston, you can set-up your garbage pick-up when you set up your Water and Sewer account.
Obviously, phone service is an industry that is constantly changing with the rise of VOIP phone technology and other services. However, if you’re looking for a local phone service over traditional phone lines, AT&T is the primary provider to most Houston area homes. You can sign up for that service at ATT.com or call them at 1-800-288-2020.
As for voice over IP (VOIP) service, Houston has a multitude of options to choose from.Cable/Satellite TV Comcast is the dominant cable TV service in Houston. They can be reached at Xfinity.com or by contacting 1-888-739-6076. Houston also has Uverse service from AT&T and satellite service from Dish Network and DirectTV. Or if you want to "cut the cord", you might go with a combination of services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and SlingTV. Check out PC Magazine's Ultimate Cord Cutter's Guide for more info.