One of the often ignored advantages of electricity deregulation is that utility companies actually have a lot less on their plates than they did before the policy. While retail electricity providers are competing for customers, utility companies serve as the baseline standard and instead focus on their primary job of delivering electricity.

The latest example of this shift in focus comes from Oncor, the utility serving much of the northern part of Texas. Oncor announced that it has introduced a new interactive outage map that customers can use – presumably on their phones – to check the status of the grid in their area and efforts underway to bring back power.

"Through focus groups and survey feedback, Oncor customers have told us they want more information," Oncor chief customer officer Brenda Jackson said in a statement. "The new map adds transparency about our business and improves the customer experience through up-to-date outage information, including estimated time of restoration when available to help customers plan to safely await restoration."

The new map will help customers understand the problems in their area, keep track of repairs and report issues.