Who Controls the Texas Electric Gird?

Understand the cluster maze of the Texas grid and how you fit into it.

Deeds Not Words
Deeds Not Words
4 min readMay 3, 2023


By Deeds Not Words

Welcome to the breakdown of WHO controls the Texas Electric grid and what you can do about it. Navigating the electric grid can be a little intimidating so let’s begin!

State Legislature

Senators take the oath of office in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol on the first day of the 88th Legislative Session Tuesday January 10, 2023. (Photo by: JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Our State Legislature, which is majority Republican and is elected by voters, set our state’s direction on climate through:

  • Overseeing all climate legislation
  • Major state investments in transportation, water, land conservation, scientific research, public infrastructure, public safety systems, & the government’s own buildings & fleets
  • State energy policy, including clean energy requirements
  • Regulating pollutants in all or some economic sectors

Railroad Commissioners

From left to right: Wayne Christian, Commissioner, Christi Craddick, Chairman, and Jim Wright, Commissioner.

Our current railroad commissioners are Christi Craddick, Wayne Christian, and Jim Wright. They regulate oil & gas companies and mineral extraction. Usually backed by fossil fuel campaign money but elected by Texas voters.

Railroad Commissioner trickles down to oil & gas companies and power plant generations. We’ll circle back to these. However, another top person that also controls the Texas electric grid is our governor.


(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Greg Abbott, our Texas governor, who is elected by voters, appoints donors and friends to three state agencies. They are the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Economic Development Council, and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). We’re going to focus on the PUC, who control the state’s electric, telecommunication, as well as water and sewer utilities.

Honorable mentions: Our U.S. Congress and President

Our U.S. Congress helps other levels of government respond to climate disasters by setting a climate standard by introducing legislation like the Green New Deal. Our President helps with the public conversation about climate as well as taking international action — such as signing the Paris Climate Agreement and federal action.

Public Utility Commission of Texas

We know they control the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water & sewer utilities. However, this agency is a revolving door of the industry of lobbyists and staff. A lobbyist is a person who is paid to take part in an organized attempt to influence legislators, sometimes these lobbyists are employees. For example, a former Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) executive director, John Paul Urban left PUC to work for the Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT). Shortly after, he was hired as a lobbyist by PUC. This way he influences AECT with values that align with PUC’s agenda.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas regulates:

Electricity providers: Who you pay your electric bill like NRG, TXU, Gexa, Reliant, Austin Energy, CPS, etc.

Transmission and Distribution: This refers to the different stages of electric transmission/”wires” utilities. Literally, the wires and poles that you see on the side of the road. Also known as the “grid” that we visually see. How electricity moves through these wires to arrive at your home.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas: It operates the Texas grid (transmission and distribution) and ensures reliability. Also known as ERCOT, the Austin-based organization recently was targeted after the winter storm of 2021. Where five out of the eight board members didn’t even live in Texas. They are still recovering from that.

Power Plant Generation: Oil & gas pipelines and wells are the big factories that let out smoke that you see on the side of the road when traveling in Texas. It also powers the transmission and distribution wire lines. However, positive power plants can also look like solar and wind power plants (the giant windmills farm that you see.)

Where do YOU come in?

So far, we’ve read that people participate in this flow by paying your electricity provider. Is that all? No. People that work in the county, cities, school districts, and your average person play a role too.

Counties oversee:

  • Transportation and water infrastructure
  • Waste management, recycling, & composting
  • Parks and land management
  • Emergency preparedness and public health
  • and manage stormwater and water flow
  • and work with partners, including private landowners, to promote the conversation of soil and water

Cities are responsible for:

  • City climate action planning
  • Zoning and land use, which affects density and city design
  • Transportation and water infrastructure
  • Waste management, recycling, & composting
  • School district board members help with:
  • Climate education policy
  • Energy Conservation and renewable energy in school facilities

And the most important of all, YOU:

  • Vote state legislators, railroad commissioners, governors, mayors (in charge of counties and cities), and school district board members.
  • Speak up through rallies, and protest
  • Work for these government establishments. You can speak with your boss or board members to push for climate change initiatives.
  • Promote why the Texas Electric grid is so complex and why we should learn more about it.
Who controls the Texas Electric Grid? graphic by Edith Valle, Art Director at Deeds Not Words.

So, who controls the Texas Electric grid? YOU! Your vote is your power. By coming together as voters and citizens of Texas, we make the future and make our voices heard. Texans are in charge of the power grid from voting at the top and speaking up at the bottom of the maze. Be a voter by registering here.

Upcoming elections:

  • May 6, 2023
  • November 7, 2023