Since the deregulation of energy in Texas in 2002, many residents have had a golden opportunity to opt for their own electricity provider. Rather than relying on their local utility to provide electricity, one can easily choose the best electricity supply company from a variety of options. It is just like shopping online.
Therefore, more and more electricity providers are jumping into the market to provide better services than their competitors. While it is good to have so many options, it can be challenging to choose the right one. With choices like fixed or variable rates, prepaid plans, price options, contract terms, and a plethora of other options, shopping for electricity in Texas can become an overwhelming task.
To simplify the process, we have put together this guide where you will find all the helpful information under one roof.
About Texas Energy Deregulation
Before moving ahead, you should first know about the Texas energy deregulation. It happened back in 2002 when the Texas government allowed residents to choose their own electricity supplier according to their needs and requirements. However, the local transmission and distribution utility company (TDU) still manages the poles and wires, takes your meter readings, and answers all sorts of queries related to a power outage.
Why Should You Shop for an Energy Plan in Texas?
Despite being an overwhelming task, it is great to shop for an electricity plan in Texas. Following are some reasons why should one do this:
Who doesn’t want to save money on electricity? And for most Texans, this is the number one priority to opt for their own electricity provider. The prices per kilowatt-hour may vary a couple of cents only, but when you see it in the long term, you will definitely feel a significant difference in the overall monthly bill. These extra pennies can cost hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Another most important reason people go shopping for electricity in Texas is to support renewable energy, such as wind or solar. If you support this cause and want to reduce the carbon footprint, you can opt for this option.
People opt for fixed-rate plans because they don’t want their providers to vary their electricity rates every month. Instead, they opt for a fixed-rate plan and enjoy its perks.
Many electricity providers throw a bunch of exciting offers to attract customers, such as free weekend electricity or free night electricity, where you can save a lot of money by choosing a plan that matches your electricity usage.
How to Shop For Electricity in Texas
Check Your Existing Contract
Before changing your electricity provider, make sure to check the contract first. See if you are under contract with your provider and how much time is left. You can see it on your electricity bill or call your electricity provider. If you want to switch before your contract ends, you may be charged an early termination fee.
Know Your Current Electricity Rate and Usage
Knowing your current electricity usage and rate can help determine the right plan for you. And, if your current electricity plan is expiring, you may also receive an offer from your provider a month ahead of contract expiration.
You can look at your bill to check your average monthly electricity usage. The rates in Texas are written based on 500 kWh, 1000 kWh, and 2000 kWh.
Many electricity providers offer rewards like free electricity or refer-a-friend credits, which can save you a little. If getting rewards is important to you, check out what you are being offered by different providers and go for the one that would benefit you the most.
Contract Length (Short or Long Term)
Before selecting the plan based on the best price, pay heed to the contract length. You can choose from plans that can be locked in for years, renewed each month, or somewhere in between. The wholesale market price and the time of the year will decide whether you should opt for a long term or short term contract.
Different term lengths in the Texas energy market often have various price points. So, if you are a bit more flexible with your contract, you could get a cheaper rate. Short term contracts are great if you don’t want to get into a long-term commitment with your electricity provider. Also, you will always have an option to renew your contract once it expires.
Decide Your Plan Type
There are two types of plans to choose from:
As the name suggests, you can lock in an electricity rate for your contract term with this type of plan—for example, 6, 12, or 24 months. Most fixed-rate plans charge customers a termination fee if they decide to switch their provider before the contract’s expiry date. However, the benefit of fixed-rate plans is that your electricity rates will be stable throughout the seasons no matter what.
On the other hand, you will also miss out on lower bills when there is a downturn in electricity prices. If the price stability is what you want, you can lock in an electricity rate for more convenience.
A variable-rate plan means that your electricity bill may vary every month depending on the market price of energy and several other factors, such as weather, fuel prices, the distribution system, etc. These plans are flexible as you are not locked in any contract, and you may have to pay higher prices in high-demand seasons, such as summer.
A variable-rate plan would be ideal for you if you don’t want a long term commitment and keep an eye on the fluctuating prices.
Your credit score has a significant impact on your ability to sign up with the electricity provider of your choice. Generally, most electricity providers require a credit score of at least 600. If your score is less than this, then you might be assessed a deposit. That deposit will be 2 months of your estimated electricity bill.
Some consumers may want to opt for prepaid plans where one has to pay for electricity in advance. The best thing about prepaid plans is that there is no deposit or credit check.
Free Electricity Plans
You might want to check out the following free electricity plans, depending upon your lifestyle and usage:
- Champion Energy Free Nights
- Direct Energy Twelve Hour Power
- Reliant Energy Truly Free Weekends
- Reliant Energy Truly Free Nights
Finally, Visit the Site Power to Choose
This is the official site where you can check everything in a single place. First, you will need to enter your zip code, and several options will appear before you. Next, you should select your estimated use from the left window, i.e., 500 kWh, 1000 kWh, or 2000 kWh. To be more specific, you can also give a price range that you are looking for. Basically, use all the filters to get the most tailored results.
Once you have selected all the desired options, the list will be narrowed down for you. Choose the one you like the most according to your requirements and review all the details before signing the contract. Check out the pricing, company rating, plan details, etc. Finally, when you have reviewed everything and chosen the best plan, go ahead and sign up for it.
How to Set Up Electricity in Your New Home
Once you have decided on the best electricity plan according to your requirements and budget, you will be asked the type of service you want. Commonly, you will have the following three options to choose from:
A standard switch is a service in which you switch from one electricity provider to another at a home where you already reside. This may take one to two days.
With this type of switch, you are switching service in the home you currently reside. However, you will have an option to select a specific date for the switch, which can be up to 60 days in the future.
If you are moving into a new home and setting up a service in your name, this is the option you want to choose. You can select a date up to 60 days in the future to schedule your move-in.
Buying Electricity in Texas – As Easy As It Can Get
Buying electricity in Texas is like shopping around for clothes. You can select the best electricity plan according to your requirements, budget, lifestyle, routine, contract, etc. The best thing about the freedom of choosing your electricity provider is the several options you get – not to mention the rewards and free electricity (in some plans).