The Power to Choose in Texas is a direct result of energy deregulation, which has significantly impacted electricity rates and competition.
Texans who want to save on their electricity bill by choosing their retail electricity providers and energy plans can benefit from the hassle-free comparisons at powertochoose.org.
As Texan electricity providers proliferate, the Power to Choose website offers an easy-to-use tool to help you select the best rate plan and provider. There’s no need to sort through all the offerings on your own. Instead, the website’s comparison tool does the hard work for you. All you need to do is define your preferences and you’ll end up with a shortlist of the best Texas electric utilities for your needs.
If you’re a Texas resident, chances are you’re in a market where you have the power to select your own electricity provider. Consider this your must-have guide for finding the best Texas electricity rates no matter what the weather brings.
Does Everyone in Texas Have the Power to Choose?
Not everyone in Texas has the power to choose but most Texas residents do. When the Texas legislature passed retail energy deregulation in 2002, it opened the door to competition between many Texas utilities. Now, most Texans can choose from many retail energy providers (REPs) for their residential and business electricity plans.
Most other major cities and metropolitan areas like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston are included in the state’s deregulated energy market. That said, not all Texas cities are part of energy deregulation. San Antonio and Austin are two significant exceptions in a largely deregulated market.
Your ZIP code will tell you if you have the power to choose in Texas. That’s where the Power to Choose website comes in. By typing in your ZIP, you can ascertain if you’re in a deregulated area or not.
Why Are Some Texas Electricity Providers Exempt From Deregulation?
Deregulation was made mandatory for investor-owned companies but left discretionary for municipal utilities and electric cooperatives (co-ops) because municipalities and co-ops are non-profit organizations. As a result, these companies can choose whether or not to participate in the competitive retail market.
The customer owns electric cooperatives. The profits earned by these companies are typically reinvested into the company, but sometimes the consumers benefit from dividends.
Municipal utility companies are owned by the city and serve its community. These entities can choose to become deregulated if the city council or governing board decides. If they do, the decision is final and cannot be reversed.
I Have the Power to Choose, So Where Do I Start?
The Power to Choose website, brought to you by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), can bring up more than 100 energy plans for you to choose from. For even the most enthusiastic of researchers, that’s a lot of electricity providers to sort through. However, using the filters, powertochoose.org quickly narrows the options to a dozen or fewer.
Select the options that best suit your needs from the side and top bar menu items. Then, you can quickly narrow down your choices by comparing electric companies and their energy plan bundles, which offer various term lengths, renewable energy programs, and rate plans.
I Want a Good Electricity Rate: How Do I Find the Best Pricing?
When using the Power to Choose tool, you can shop for electricity providers by comparing plans, product offerings (such as renewable energy plans), and pricing per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
If pricing is the most important factor for you, sort your options (at the top of the tool) by selecting the option: “Sort By: Price/ kWh.” Sorting your choices this way will then bring up the electricity providers that have the best price per kWh, along with their various plans.
Understand the Basics
At first blush, some electricity providers may seem more expensive than others. However, there are a few things you should take into consideration when comparing pricing.
Under “Plan Details” you’ll find the following information:
- Plan name: These are unique according to the provider — for example, Just Energy residential plans might include 100% Green Nights Free Plan or Weekends Free Plan
- Rate type: It can be a fixed rate (the price per kWh stays the same throughout contract), variable rate (varies month-to-month, often depending on natural gas prices), or indexed rate (can vary month-to-month and is attached to a publicly available index)
- Contract length: This normally ranges from three months to 36 months
- Renewable energy percentage: Lets you know how much renewable energy will power your home or building
Research Rate Plans
Depending on your needs, some of these rate plans could cost more than what you want. Likewise, someone else may find your best option to be too expensive for them. In reality, finding the “best pricing” is rather subjective when it comes to energy plans in a deregulated Texas energy market.
For example, you may prefer a variable-rate plan because you might be moving in a few months and need the flexibility to switch providers due to a relocation. Likewise, if you’re not risk-averse, you might be willing to take a chance that energy pricing will drop, in which case you would then enjoy the benefits of a lower rate.
If you plan to stay put for a while and prefer the stability of locking in a reasonable rate, selecting a longer-term contract with a fixed-rate plan might be the option for you. This way, you have the peace of mind that no matter what extreme or inclement weather comes your way, your electric bill will stay the same.
Don’t Forget the Special Terms
Finally, watch out for the small print. Fixed-rate plans, which are often seemingly the most affordable, usually come with special terms. These vary according to the provider but could include:
- A limited-time fixed rate, which then continues on a month-to-month variable rate
- A requirement to enroll in auto-pay so that your bill is deducted automatically from your bank account — some companies may offer the option to pay by traditional methods but could subject your billing to an additional charge if you do (usually 5 cents per kWh)
- Paperless billing only
- Availability for new customers only
- No availability in conjunction with other promotions or special offers such as referral deals
- An additional flat fee per billing cycle — typically under $5
To quickly learn what special terms there may be (if any), go to the Power to Choose tool and look for the red “Special Terms” link on the right side of the screen, next to your electricity provider of choice. Of course, be sure to ask about special terms when you call the provider to find out more or subscribe.
Important: Ask your customer service or sales rep to provide you with the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) and have your existing EFL handy for comparisons. This document is required in Texas and will provide you with the details of your plan, the average rate you’ll pay at various usage levels, and other information such as the percentage of green energy your plan offers, base monthly charges, and any early termination fees that may apply.
How Do I Avoid Expensive Electric Bills During Extreme Texas Weather?
The February 2021 winter storm in Texas is a prime example of why electric rates matter and why you should choose your own provider and plan if you’re eligible to do so. The Texas storm heavily impacted Texans, who saw rates soar to $9 per kWh, about 75 times the average of 12 cents per kWh. A fixed-rate plan guarantees pricing during the contract term, which can help you avoid pricing spikes.
Likewise, the summer months can reach extreme temperatures in Texas. In fact, on its hottest days, summertime temperatures in Texas can soar into the 100s. Did you know that in the summers of 1936 and 1994, the temperature reached a whopping 120°F? It’s no wonder Texans rely on air conditioning to stay cool (and safe), which, of course, significantly impacts residential and commercial electricity usage.
Extreme temperatures – be it hot or cold – can mean extreme energy bills. The power to choose gives you the option to select an electricity plan that may protect your wallet with a fixed rate.
Why Choose a Green Energy Plan?
There are numerous reasons to select a company that offers green energy plans, from financial gains to health benefits. Here are a few:
You’re Doing Your Part to Help the Economy
Renewable energy technologies and the infrastructures required to support them can potentially create new jobs, which helps boost the economy. Renewable energy is more labor-intensive than conventional energy sources; therefore, they require more human resources.
In addition to creating more jobs (which can stimulate the economy), renewable energy relies on local resources, thereby lowering our dependence on foreign nations – a far more cost-effective solution.
Your Green Energy Choice Comes With Health Benefits for Everyone
When we harness green energy sources to produce power from the sun, the wind, biomass fuels, or hydropower, we significantly reduce pollutants in our environment. This is an electric choice that we can all feel good about. In doing so, we protect our health, the health of our loved ones, and even that of strangers and other sentient beings.
Even limited exposure to the pollution from conventional power can cause eye irritation, upper respiratory infections, allergies, headaches, and nausea. Furthermore, long-term exposure to air pollution has far more severe health effects, including lung cancer, heart disease, and chronic respiratory issues.
Finally, choosing green energy helps protect our planet and the resulting health and safety issues associated with global warming.
Choosing Green Energy Doesn’t Have to Adversely Affect Your Electric Bill
Renewable energy plans can be competitive in pricing – even with conventional electricity plans that get power from fossil fuels. Choosing clean and green doesn’t need to break the bank – it just requires a little research. With a tool like the one offered by the official website Power to Choose, you can easily compare retail electric providers and select one that you feel good about regardless of whether you’re considering the environment or your budget.
Use the Power to Choose to Find the Best Energy Plan for Your Household
Electric choice is a benefit of deregulation that most Texans enjoy. That means that you likely have a choice when it comes to selecting a local utility that will offer the best electricity plan for your needs.
Learn more with our helpful guide on the power to choose in Texas and also visit the Power to Choose site. You’re bound to find some great savings opportunities and may even be able to contribute to sustainability by switching your retail electricity provider.
With the power to choose at your fingertips, why wouldn’t you choose?
Brought to you by justenergy.com
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The post Power to Choose Texas: A Guide for Texas Electricity Rates appeared first on Just Energy.
By: Just Energy
Title: Power to Choose Texas: A Guide for Texas Electricity Rates
Sourced From: justenergy.com/blog/power-to-choose-texas-electricity/
Published Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2021 19:22:22 +0000