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Round Rock is a unique city as it falls between both sides of the Balcones Escarpment (also known as the Balcones Fault). The Balcones Escarpment is a fault line — a fracture in the Earth’s crust. On one side, towards the east of the IH-35 highway, the land known as the Backland Prairie due to the dark color of the soil. On the other side, to the west, the land is part of the Texas Hill Country and is made up of hills and less fertile soil.
In its early years, Round Rock saw a lot of action with historic gunfights between rangers and wanted men, like Sam Bass. The first half of the 1990s saw the rise of agriculture and farmland, primarily cotton plantations. At that time, the town became a ‘bedroom community’, meaning that its citizens worked in surrounding cities and only came back to Round Rock to sleep. This started to change towards the later half of the twentieth century as several major corporations moved their headquarters here, which provide major employment opportunities in many industries.
Energy Deregulation in Round Rock
Energy deregulation became law in Texas in 2002. Prior to energy deregulation, the state was energy regulated, which meant that the utilities had a significant amount of control over the energy industry. They handled the business starting from generation all the way down to customer service.
The main problem with energy regulation is that there is no room for competition within the market. A utility provides service to a particular area and in many cases, customers do not have a choice over which utility provides their electricity. Energy deregulation splits the utility’s business activities up, allowing entities known as Retail Energy Suppliers (REPs) to offer products, services and plans related to the supply of electricity.
Since 2002, many REPs have opened up shop all around Texas. Each must provide the best products, plans and services in order to attract and retain customers. This highlights the biggest benefit to energy deregulation. Customers have the option to choose their REP. If a customer is not happy with their REP, they can always switch to a different REP without any disruption in service!
Round Rock Energy Providers
Round Rock has many REPs to choose from. Some of the REPs with services available in Round Rock include,
- Infuse Energy
- Gexa Energy
- Volt EP
- 4FChange Energy
- Pennywise Power
- Green Mountain Energy
- Discount Power
- Infinite Energy
- Veteran Energy
- StarTex Power
- Power Express
- Pioneer Energy
- Source Power & Gas
- Think Energy
- Breeze Energy
- Spark Energy
- YEP Energy
- Beyond Power
- Bounce Energy
- Cirro Energy
- First Choice Power
- V247 Power
- Direct Energy
- Amigo Energy
- Stream Energy
When choosing a REP, it is important to check that they are an approved or certified energy provider. This certification process is done by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and a list of currently approved REPs are available on their website.
Round Rock’s Energy Industry
While other American cities within the state of Texas are heavily involved in the oil and gas industry, Round Rock’s main focus is on clean energy. Currently, the city has established relationships with many clean energy companies in order to grow within the space. Some of the clean energy companies established in Round Rock include,
- Industrial Sensors and Instruments
- TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company
- Industrial Monitor and Control Corporation (IMACC)
Other Major Industries in Round Rock
In addition to clean energy projects, Round Rock is dedicated to searching for and bringing in business opportunities in many other industries.
Computer & Information Technology – In 1996, Round Rock offered Dell the opportunity to split sales tax 50/50 between the company and the city. Since then, the computer and information technology giant has continued to call Round Rock home for its corporate headquarters. Dell employs approximately 11,500 people within the city and 96,000 people around the world.
Commercial & Retail – In 2006, a major retail center opened up in Round Rock. The retail center project was developed by Barshop & Oles of Austin alongside Simon Property Group and includes the Simon Property Group’s Premium Outlet Mall, an IKEA as well as many other restaurants and shops. The city’s largest commercial and office area is known as La Frontera. The space includes 1,000,000 square feet of retail, office, housing and apartment complexes. Emerson Process Management and the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TGSLC) are headquartered at this location.
Other major industries found within Round Rock include,
- Health & Healthcare Related Services
- Agriculture (Cotton)
Round Rock Quick Stats
In 2008, Money Magazine called Round Rock the 7th best city to live in the United States. In 2009, the city was also named one of the fastest growing American cities by CNN.
So, what are the key elements that make up this ‘super suburb’? Check out a few quick stats below.
Total Population (2016): 106,975
Land Area: 26.3 square miles
Total Number of Households: 37,223
Average Rent (2013): $952
Median Household Income: $69,998
Median Age: 32.5
Cost of Living: 99 (U.S. average is 100)
Sales Tax Rate: 8.25%
Did You Know?
There is so much more to know about Round Rock other than its demographics or major industries. A few fun facts include,
- Round Rock was initially called, Brushy. The postmaster made the change in 1854.
- American train robber, Sam Bass had his final showdown in Round Rock. One of the city’s streets, A.W. Grimes Blvd is named after the Sheriff who died in the battle. Sam Bass was gravely wounded and died 3 days later.
- Before Round Rock became a city, only Native Americans (specifically the Tonkawa and Comanche) and Mexicans were known to live in the area.
Round Rock Major Utilities
Utilities in Texas remain responsible for the delivery of electricity. While customers in 85% of the state have the option to choose their REP, they still must rely on their utility for the maintenance of poles and wires. Utilities in Round Rock include,
TXU Energy – 1-800-818-6132
Oncor – 1 888-313-4747
For any electricity emergency, please contact your utility. REPs are not responsible for providing support in these type of situations.