To do so, we used five of the state’s largest electricity companies to explore six things you'll have to evaluate when you're comparing plans and providers: We’ll walk you through customer satisfaction scores, running the numbers on rates, and calculating the impact of different fees, discounts, and contract types. We'll weigh in on extra perks, like points, and green energy too.
HOUSTON, Sept. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past summer, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas has been baffled by Retail Energy Providers using pricing gimmicks that dupe Texas consumers into high monthly bills at its Power to Choose website.(1) The PUC of Texas' best solution was to tweak some sort settings, limit the number of REP plans, and offer a "series of user-friendly PDFs and videos intended to guide and inform the customer."(2) The chairman has even recently said that if the PUCT can't figure out a solution, then the commission may just shut down the Power to Choose website.(3)
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) does it for you. When you sign up for a plan with a new provider, ERCOT will send you a mailer confirming the switch. You have three days upon receiving the mailer to change your mind. If you don't, you'll have a new provider within seven days, and ERCOT will notify your old provider. Just remember, if you abandon a contract before it's complete, you will be on the hook for any fees or penalties detailed in its Terms of Service.
The complaints filed against providers aren't a perfect mirror of the J.D. Power customer satisfactions scores. Just Energy, which earned only two J.D. Power Circles and earned the second-lowest score, had only 21 complaints recorded with the Public Utility Commission. But it's helpful to view these complaints in aggregate: Over 50 percent of the 1,119 total complaints fall under "billing" — another reason to seek out a provider with high customer satisfaction in that area in particular.
Payless Power is a Texas electricity provider that offers cheap, pay as you go service, allowing you to choose how much you spend monthly. Putting residents first, we provide affordable Texas electricity rates with no deposit or credit check required, allowing you to get service regardless of your income or credit history. We take great pride in the service we deliver to our customers and the savings we can help them to achieve.
Electricity rates in Texas are not fixed. Your rate can vary greatly depending on your usage and your electric plan. Some plans have relatively flat rates, while others can be all over the place. This means that you could end up paying 7¢ for 999 kWhs and 8.5¢ for 1001 kWhs. That would be a 16% increase because you microwaved a few potatoes. Learn more on the different plan types here.
Variable-rate supply plans, as the name suggests, have a rate that varies based on the market price of electricity. Seasonal and market fluctuations can affect supply rates. While variable-rate supply plans can allow you to take advantage of market-price lows, there is the possibility of paying for high supply rates when demand is at its peak. These plans offer great flexibility.
In order to prompt entry into the market, the price to beat would have to be high enough to allow for a modest profit by new entrants. Thus, it had to be above the cost of inputs such as natural gas and coal. For example, a price to beat fixed at the actual wholesale procurement price of electricity does not give potential entrants a margin to compete against incumbent utilities. Second, the price to beat would have to be reasonably low, to enable as many customers as possible to continue to consume electricity during the transition period.
2Offer valid for new residential customers in Texas only. To utilize all features of the Echo Dot, you will need an 'always on' Wi-Fi internet service. If you cancel your plan early there's a fee of $135. You cannot return your Echo Dot to avoid the early cancellation fee. Terms and Conditions apply. All Amazon trademarks and copyrights are property of Amazon.com or its affiliates. The Echo Dot is provided by Direct Energy, Amazon is not a sponsor of this energy plan offer.
5Green energy plans are supported 100% by Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) that are purchased and retired in an amount sufficient to match your annual consumption. RECs are a tradeable, non-tangible energy commodity in the United States that represents proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource like biomass, hydro, solar or wind. Please see your Terms of Service for more information.
Month-to-month electric plans are more commonly known as variable rate plans. With these plans the amount you pay per kilowatt-hour for your electricity each month will vary. This price is based on fluctuations in the market, so when the price of electricity falls you’ll pay less, but when it rises, you’ll pay more. In other words, you’re really gambling and should realize ahead of time that what you pay for your electric will change every month. This is why month-to-month electricity plans are only best for people who need electricity for a short amount of time.
Prepaid electricity allows you to buy your electricity before consuming it. This is similar to a pre-paid cell phone in that you’ll pay the Retail Electric Provider (REP) upfront. You can then manage how much electricity you use throughout the month. These prepaid energy plans are best for people who can pay their bills on time and can receive notices via text or email. They’re also a good option for anyone who doesn’t have money for a large deposit, people with bad credit, anyone who wants to cut down on their electric use, or who need to split the electric bill with their roommates.
Utility companies are responsible for transmission and delivery of electricity even in energy deregulated parts of Texas and should be contacted in the event of a power outage. Your retail energy supplier may provide you competitive electric rates or exceptional customer service, but they cannot repair power lines or restore your service. In the case of an emergency, contact: