Is Your Electricity Company Ripping You Off?

energyconsultingI have a relative in the family who often uses the term rip-off for pretty much anything and it gives every body a bit of a chuckle because he overuses it so much. There is of course a difference in the rip-off that really isn’t a rip-off and truly getting ripped off.

I am speaking to commercial electricity customers here because they often fall victim to a common true rip-off scheme I am about to talk about. For residential customers, simply comparing electric rates using a  comparison site like ours and ordering service online is enough. These providers give residential customers enough warning that their contract is expiring and to go and renew. Commercial customers have to worry about the possibility of some typical schemes used on business customers.

There are quite a few commercial electric companies that do things a bit different compared to reputable companies in the market.

A few questions I would like to pose to commercial businesses in Texas are:

  • Did you know that electricity companies may have you in a long term contract that may go out for 3 years?
  • Maybe your CFO has changed, did you know if you do not notify some electric companies you want to renew by a certain date then you may get rolled over like a dirty dog onto a new contract and they likely won’t let you know?
  • After all this happens to you, did you know they just might top things off by increasing your electric rate?

What if you are a large manufacturer of goods and your company went through a change in CFO’s? In this situation the new CFO may not get to the electric agreement in time to see it has rolled over. What if your company’s contract got rolled over to a new 3 year contract or perhaps a noncompetitive month to month variable rate? You could be paying much higher prices for electricity service without even knowing it.

Our company works with over 20 different electric companies in Texas and reminds you when it gets time for contract expiration via email, and phone calls that you need to go out shopping again for a new electric company and rate. If the company you are with now offers the best rate again by all means we encourage you to stay but often a new provider will beat your old provider.

It is important that you know the process of moving to a new electric company is very easy in Texas. The Public Utility Commission allows change in providers to happen through their systems. Because the state of Texas has worked in simplicity into every part of the energy choice process we could switch you to a new provider every 6 months if it made sense and there really isn’t all that much to the process. In fact, through the process of changing providers you never have to worry about losing service as there are safety checks and double checks that go in the ERCOT system that make that practically impossible.

So here is what we recommend you do sometime this week when you get a chance.

  •  Check when your energy contract ends or let us call your provider for you and find out.
  •  Allow us to explore the market for you and find the best rate.
  • And as always make sure to turn your equipment, appliances, etc. off when not being used. Power strips really help with this!

Electric Service for Apartments

Electric service for apartments is no different from that of a house but the landlord will want the account number of the electric company you choose to go with.

When you use this site to shop online for electric service for your apartment you will, compare providers, look at various rates, and ultimately pick a provider and sign up online.

The good news is that we help organize the providers and rates and assist in helping you find a good rated low price electric company for your new place.

When you order apartment electric service over the internet you are confirmed online and given your account number online and in an email.

You simply take down the confirmation number or account number and give this number to the apartment landlord so they know you have switched to an electric company.

Once the apartment complex management has this account number it allows them to know you have ordered electric service in your name so they can go ahead and call and request that the service be switched off in the prior tenants account.

As long as you get your request for electric service in before the landlord calls in to request it be turned off the service will remain on and will never be physically turned off.

If you fail to order service in your name but you tell your landlord that you did what will happen is electricity service will be turned off and may end up off for a couple of days.

The whole reason the apartment landlord asks for the account number to verify you have ordered electric service is to make sure that service is not accidentally turned off just before you move in.

This little dilemma rarely happens but it occasionally occurs and so there you have the reason for the landlords insistence that you provide them your electric utility account number.

They are just trying to make sure they are not blamed for electricity service being turned off just as a new tenant moves in.

Electricity Company Rate Plans

Electric Company Rate PlansWhen picking a rate plan for a residential home or apartment you need to understand how energy providers choose to market.

Every electric provider will have a few good deals on certain plans. It may be a 3 month rate or a 15 month rate but what you will see is a slightly cheaper price for that term than a typical contract term.

Compare Electricity Company Rates

It will not always be the 3 month and 15 month fixed rate plan that offers the best electricity price but this serves as an example so I can explain what is going on here.

Many times a standard 12 month fixed rate will offer the best deal but a provider can steer you to a different rate plan by making look better.

Even if certain things about an electricity company rate plan are bad for the customer an electricity provider will market it in such a way that you may see the bad aspects as positive.

These energy suppliers are simply featuring the bad parts of their plan and making you pay more for it. Don’t fall for these tricks as you end up losing in the end.

Below are some points to consider when choosing an electricity company and one of their rate plans.

  • Choose a standard electricity rate plan such as 6 months, 12 months, 24, or 36 months.
  • Don’t always go with the cheapest plan especially if it is a short term 1 – 3 month deal. That price will go up.
  • Lock in to a fixed rate and skip going with the cheaper variable price. Variable rates are always subject to change.
  • If a company leaves off TDSP charges, surcharges, and other hidden fees in their rate don’t trust that they have your best interests in mind. Go with a different provider.
  • Stay away from electricity rate plans that say they are fixed but also have a fuel surcharge that can adjust with the commodities market. This is a trick and it simply means your electricity company rate is not truly locked in as fixed.

August 2009 Dallas Electricity Rate Comparison

Today is August 14 2009 and we have gone out to the power to choose website to check on electricity rates from companies like Champion, Startex, Green Mountain Energy, Spark Energy, TXU, Ambit, Stream, Bounce, Texas Power and Reliant Energy.  We checked on some other Texas electricity providers but these energy companies provide a good overall comparison of rates. We have sorted the electricity rates  in order from cheapest to most expensive using the pricing available on the Power to Choose website.

Startex Power, Champion, and Green Mountain Energy, are some of the more popular electricity companies we recommend and Startex and Champion are currently offering some of the cheapest available electricity plans in the Dallas Texas area. There are no hidden fees or charges with Startex or Champion. If you use below 500 kWh per month than a $4.95 monthly service fee will kick in with Startex Power but other than that you are going to be good with the top two cheapest Dallas electricity plans in the chart.

This chart above is a historical snapshot of what Dallas residential electricity rates looked like for the month and day of August 14 2009. These charts sometimes help in determining the track record of a Texas electricity companies overall consistent performance in delivering a low cost electricity price to Texas energy consumers. To see a current comparison of our recommended electricity companies in Dallas Texas please click on our Dallas electricity comparison link by clicking here.

August 2009 Houston Electricity Rates and Plans – Compared

Picking The Right Houston Electricity Company, Rate and Plan

What to Know Before Signing up With Just Anyone

We have compiled a list of some of the more popular residential Texas electricity companies and rate plans. If there is a known issue with one of the residential electricity companies we list that concern next to the provider. There are some providers that have blatantly obvious tricks we know of that shows one rate on their website but when receiving your first electricity bill the rate is much higher due to the TDSP charges not being clearly apparent. A note should be made that these Texas electricity providers are usually involved in leaving off the TDSP charge on their advertised rate. We are not sure exactly how many energy companies participate in this practice as well as they change their practices depending on how much heat they are receiving from PUCT complaints. You can read Consumer Energy complaints from some of these providers customers who can explain what exactly can occur when switching to a gimmicky energy company better than we can.

August 7 2009 Residential Houston Electricity Company Comparison, Cheapest to Most Expensive

Understanding Your Houston Residential Electricity Rate

Most electric providers in Texas will bundle the TDSP charges into the energy only rate giving you an all-in rate that can be compared against other Texas electricity companies like TXU Energy and Reliant Energy. We have listed both TXU and Reliant in our comparison chart in order to compare their electricity prices with other Texas electric providers. You will notice that the two largest energy providers in Texas have much higher electricity prices than some of the smaller but good electric companies. Right now Champion Energy and Startex Power are two reputable electricity providers in Texas offering very cheap fixed electricity rate offers. All fees and charges are disclosed with these two companies. With Startex if a customer uses less then 500 kWh hours a month there will be a $4.95 monthly service fee although most Texas electricity consumers use more then this so it shouldn’t be an issue for most customers. A monthly service fee is simply an additional charge many electricity providers have in addition to their electricity price. It is important that a provider disclose this fee upfront rather than hide it in the contract details. We have made these fees obvious in our rate chart so you can make a clear apples to apples comparison of electricity prices in Texas.

Historical Houston Electricity Rate Snapshot for August 7 2009

Since this Houston electricity comparison chart is an update for August 7 2009 it only represents a historical snapshot of what Texas electricity providers were charging on this date. An updated and daily refreshed electricity rate chart is also provided below with some of the cheapest Houston electricity companies. We hope this historical list of Houston energy providers in prices above will keep you informed of how prices move over the course of several months. If you have any questions or comments about one of these Houston electricity companies please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are interested in a no deposit Houston electricity choice please visit our no deposit electricity page.

Current Houston Electricity Rates, Companies, and Plans

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