Direct Energy, one of the major players in competitive electricity markets around the country, announced plans to move its headquarters to Houston, Texas.

The move comes as somewhat of a surprise as the company has been based in Toronto, Ontario, since its creation in 2000, playing a similarly important role in electricity deregulation in Canada.

However, the U.S. has developed into a much more active market for electricity providers, and Texas has been one of the leading causes for that growth.

"The relocation of our corporate head office to Houston will allow us to focus our attention on growth opportunities in the U.S. where competitive energy markets are thriving, particularly in Texas and the U.S. Northeast region," said Chris Weston, president and CEO of Direct Energy.

As of September 2011, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas reports that a majority of Texan residents – 56.45 percent – and a substantial majority of small businesses – 65.86 percent – have chosen to switch electricity providers. That amounts to nearly 3.8 million customers and more than 16.6 terawatt-hours of electricity.

Direct Energy will maintain its services in Ontario and continue to expand into further markets in the U.S.