Changing electric companies is done for a variety of reasons and the primary one for most of us is price.
Because of the political situation we are involved in many in the U.S. want to stand up against companies that support a political administration that is dismantling the Constitution of the United States of America.
Using the Commerce Clause and pushing things through in the name of general welfare of the United States is why prices for things like electricity go up and this was never the purpose of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
Other people want to choose a company that does not give donations to things like Planned Parenthood, or a provider that gives back to charities they do not believe in.
I noticed some interesting electric provider names on the Texas government supported compare website known as Power to Choose. On there I found a few different electric companies with new names I had not heard of before but when researching they were owned or affiliated with electric companies that have a long Texas history in the deregulated electricity market.
Providers over the last several years will sometimes change their names and create dba’s to market their services as a completely different entity in hopes that if you don’t like one brand you may accept the other.
Take for instance Veterans Energy. This brand is owned by Infinite Energy and what they are doing is providing a way for people to order electric service and at the same time give money to a few different veterans and active duty military charities. The 6 month rate plan gives $25 while the 12 month plans currently donates $50 to one of these charities.
This additional brand allows them to build a following based on their support of veterans. They currently support the following organizations:
The Lone Survivor Foundation
Lone Star Veterans Association
Impact a Hero
Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association
The Military Warriors Support Foundation
Texas Sentinels Foundation
Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars
Team Red, White & Blue
The Mission Continues
Giving back to veterans through an electric company is a great way to support our troops and my knowledge of Infinite Energy is that they are a good retail electric provider and their reason for creating another brand has nothing to do with hiding their identity but more about building a brand based on a positive movement like supporting our troops.
Now the bigger brand in the list known as Reliant Energy was bought a few years ago by a company called NRG Energy out of New Jersey. NRG Energy created a brand called Penneywise Power and although their brand is different the ownership is still the same company that also owns Reliant Energy. What Reliant is attempting to do with this brand is simply to offer cheaper prices for the customer that has price as their bottom line reason for switching providers.
The problem some people have gotten into in the past with companies they detest is having a bad experience with one company only to switch providers and end up with a different retail electric provider but yet still owned by the same company.
Sometimes price is not the reason for the switch but it has more to do with making a statement to a provider that, “I choose to never give my money to you again” for whatever reason that may be. For instance, this lady appears to be against Reliant Energy because of their support of Susan G. Komen, since this breast cancer charity gives money to Planned Parenthood.
Now if this lady who posted this comment was using Reliant Energy and decided to stop using her for her reasons and went on PowertoChoose and found Pennywise power as the cheapest she might sign up with them thinking they are a completely different company with no affiliation or ownership by Reliant’s parent company, NRG Energy. She would be wrong and in a way she would be giving her money to the same company she has a problem with.
I also happened upon a distinct name on the state’s comparison website. This new company was called, 4ChangeEnergy and I couldn’t help think of the Obama political slogan “Hope and Change” when I read that. I went to their website and discovered that they probably call themselves this name because they have a percentage of their profits they commit to charities that you choose. They said the following on their site:
- Pay your bill, choose your charity
- 4% of proceeds support local chapters
- 4Change Energy supports cancer research, food banks, disaster relief and helping kids fight serious disease
- Building a better Texas
So if someone was with TXU Energy and had a problem with them because they felt like they were overcharged and decided to go shopping on Power to Choose for a different electric company they might see 4ChangeEnergy and give it a go.
It would be easy to make the switch to this new electric company without ever noticing that both companies are owned by the parent holding company through subsidiaries known as Energy Future Holdings.
If the consumer was specifically adamant as I have seen many are about never using a company again because they felt like they were “ripped-off” then this consumer would be playing right into the same company’s hands when they switched away to basically the same company as many might see it.
The last company in the list is DPI Energy. This provider has gone through ownership changes and had a host of problems over the years between themselves and the PUCT. You can read a little about this on this article. When it comes to prepaid electric companies I have noticed they usually get most of the consumer complaints compared to post paid providers.
The prepaid company has to turn off peoples electric power when they do not refill their electricity service charge account. Since they are prepaying for energy if they fail to prepay on a month they risk power being turned off and this is not fun.
Many times prepaid providers are smaller companies and may not always have the best consumer service, billing, and systems to make sure everything is executed properly in the course of business. A customer that is not notified about a failed prepayment and then has power turned off is often infuriated to the point of never wanting to use the same company again.
The principle of the matter is at stake and most people just out of the principle of holding the bad provider accountable for their actions will vow to never do business with them again. In this situation a DPI customer might end up switching over to TruSmart Energy without realizing they are the same company. Down at the bottom of the website you can see the dba says DPI Energy but many people would fail to see this. It says in small writing dPi Energy LLC d/b/a TruSmart Energy | (855) TRU-SMART | PUCT# 10130
In summary, picking a new provider as a statement and as a way of discouraging bad behavior by an electric company may not always work as you might be switching from one company back to the same company without even realizing it. I say this assuming you are like me in believing that a company who might be a dba, subsidiary, partial-subsidiary, smaller company in an umbrella of other companies all owned by one large company is simply one in the same company for your own practical purposes. I know that is all confusing lingo but that even makes me wonder is that the reason for the many divisions, confusion?