One of the benchmarks of a successful free market is the range of choice provided to customers. Choice can be viewed both in terms of the number of firms active in the market as well as the variety of products those firms offer to consumers. In the first decade of retail electric deregulation in Texas, the market experienced dramatic changes in both metrics. In 2002, residential customers in the Dallas-Fort area could choose between 10 retail electric providers offers a total of 11 price plans. By the end of 2012, there were 45 retail electric providers offering 258 different price plans to residential customers in that market. Similar increases in the number of retail electric providers and available plans have been realized in other deregulated electricity market areas with the state.
Finding the right business electricity plan is an important part of running a successful company, especially in Texas. Depending on the industry, summer electric bills for businesses can double (or more!), so shopping for a competitive rate is important. But who has the time to contact electricity companies and compare different contracts? Many small and medium businesses are shopping for themselves and saving both time and energy costs.
Texas Electricity Ratings is the destination website for Texas residents and business owners to share their opinions and have a voice in the Texas Deregulated Energy Market. We offer daily updated information about electricity rates in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, and hundreds of other cities in Texas. Electricity Ratings, LLC helps people make informed buying decisions through its consumer reviews platform and is a reliable source for valuable consumer insight, advice, in-depth energy company service evaluations, and personalized recommendations. Since 2009, we've helped over 1.5 million shoppers find the best energy providers and rates. Electricity Ratings, LLC operates similar consumer energy shopping websites in Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, Connecticut, and New York.
Power to Choose is a program run by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Its goal is to protect residents of the state from unfair energy costs and unregulated REPs, as well as develop a strong infrastructure. The program provides an easy to use, online tool that give residents of the state the opportunity to compare rates, plans and other energy options. Keep in mind though, you really need to read the fine print if you decide to use Power to Choose (or any other service, for that matter).
Fixed rate electric plans lock you in to the same rate for the length of your contract. These contracts can last from 3 months – 5 years, but they typically last 6 months – 24 months. Regardless of how long you sign your contract for, you’ll pay the same amount per kilowatt-hour until the contract expires. It doesn’t matter if the price of electricity rises or falls during this time. This is why a fixed rate electric plan is best for those people who are looking for a long-term subscription. You’ll also want to have good credit, so you don’t have to pay a lot of money to get your electricity plan started.
Another positive environmental impact is the effect of higher energy prices on consumer choices, similar to the US market trend toward more fuel-efficient cars. As electric bills have risen, residents are reducing their electrical usage by using more moderate thermostat settings, installing insulation, installing solar screens, and other such activities. Texas utilities (such as Austin Energy) are also installing advanced electricity meters that may one day enable variable pricing based on the time of day. This would permit energy customers to save money by further tailoring their consumption based on whether it occurred during the peak demand period (high cost/high pollution) or the off-peak (night time).
Which ones the best? Like all things energy, it depends. Do you prefer predictability, or do you like the idea of potentially saving some cash by monitoring the market? Our (albeit conservative) recommendation: Fixed rate is probably best. Energy prices are on the rise — the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts a 3 percent increase in residential electricity prices in 2018.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average household in Texas uses about 15,000 kWh of electricity per year — 26 percent more than the national average, “but similar to the amount used in neighboring states.” That said, the only way to know your personal average energy consumption is by looking at your electricity bills over the course of a year (you want to accommodate all weather conditions) and understanding both your overall usage, as well as if you use more or less during certain months.
For example, shoppers for Texas electricity plans in the 77494 ZIP code in Katy, TX, could find 12-month plans for 6.8 cents/kWh in February; by June, electricity rates had increased 27 percent to 9.3 cents/kWh. As of early September, 12-month plans were up again, to 9.9 cents/kWh – a 6.5 percent hike from June and a 46 percent increase just since February.