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

Customer Confusion Over Price is Some Texas Electricity Companies Business Model

Fixed rate product — A retail electric product with a term of at least three months for which the price (including recurring charges) for each billing period of the contract term is the same throughout the contract term, except that the price may vary from the disclosed amount solely to reflect actual changes in the Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU) charges, changes to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) or Texas Regional Entity administrative fees charged to loads or changes resulting from federal, state or local laws that impose new or modified fees or costs on a REP that are beyond the REP’s control.

According to TXU it is unclear whether the ERCOT System Administration Fee, TRE Fee, Public Utility Commission assessment, and Gross Receipts Tax Reimbursements are considered recurring charges that must be included in the total average price per kWh on a customer’s Electricity Facts Label and bills, or whether they may merely be identified to customers in the Electricity Facts Label or Terms of Service and then billed as line items on the bill and not included in the total average price/kWh. Currently Retail Electric Providers are treating these fees and assessments differently which is preventing customers from making an apples to apples price comparison.

The PUCT clarifies that any dispute between a customer and a Retail Electric Provider concerning the terms of a contract, any vagueness, obscurity, or ambiguity in the contract will be construed in favor of the electricity service customer.

The Electricity Facts Label for each electric service product shall be printable in no more than a two page format. The Electricity Facts Label, Terms of Service, and YRAC for any products offered for enrollment on a Texas electricity providers website shall be available for viewing or downloading.

According to the PUCT for a fixed rate product, the Electricity Facts Label shall provide the total average price for electric service reflecting all recurring charges, excluding state and local sales taxes, and reimbursement for the state miscellaneous gross receipts tax, to the customer.

I hate to even suggest it if it wasn’t true but some of the Texas electricity companies advertising out there really cannot be doing anything other than making a clever attempt at tricking customers into their rates. Our compare widget will show you the entire rate and make the shopping experience easy and quick.

Why would I say something like this? Just take a look at a handful of some of the electricity companies we wrote about and look at near 300 comments in some cases from disgruntled electricity service customers on some of them. A couple situations had more to do with confusion of what a customer thought a variable electricity rate is which cannot be blamed on some of these providers. Many of these situations involve customers who truly believed when signing up that they were on a fixed electricity rate only to be told in their electricity bill later that additional fluctuating charges have been added on.

  • Amigo Energy – Over 80 Comments (Problems associated with POLR customers not understanding to switch to a plan after moving to POLR)
  • Dynowatt Energy – Over 80 Comments (many of these are customer confusion over variable electricity prices)
  • Freedom Power – Over 40 comments (complaints and confusion by customers of disconnects and extra charges)
  • National Power – Over 330 comments (no longer selling in Texas after an attempt to raise customer fixed rates)
  • Riverway Power – Over 30 comments (no longer selling in Texas after an attempt to raise customer fixed rates)

This is a very confrontational topic and I will do my best to stay away from naming Texas electric company names but a few different scenarios of what I am talking about come to mind. Below I will give a summary of some of the confusing electricity price advertisements I have come across.

    • One electricity provider had an electricity rate on the splash page where they advertise their rates about 3 cents cheaper than the cheapest 12 month fixed rate any Texas electricity company was offering. The rate was being advertised as a fixed rate as well. This was a residential electricity rate and since 90% of all residential electric companies in Texas bundle in all charges minus a monthly fixed base charge we would assume this was a bundled rate. We pulled up the facts label off their site which is supposed to break it down according to PUCT regulations where the rate is bundled together with all charges. The rate showed the same low price in the facts label but had some interesting legal jargon in the fine print that TDSP charges may need to be added in addition. We called this electricity provider because no where on the site could we find a total bundled residential electricity price. The provider after much questioning explained that additional TDSP charges would need to be added to the rate but they could not tell me what these are because they are variable and vary by customer. The lady was right. The TDSP charges are variable and in fact 90% of the TDSP charges are demand related. In other words if you are accustomed to turning on all the machines, lights, AC, and appliances in your house during peak times in the day than your demand charge could be much higher than a typical household. Your variable part of the rate could be 4 cents per kWh or more on top of the advertised fixed rate. Most Texas electricity providers fix the TDSP charges and bundle it into the rate so regardless of what your demand may be you pay the disclosed advertised price you saw and read in their advertisement. How is a Texas electricity provider able to fix the TDSP charges? Well, if you average what most residential customers use in energy it comes out to about 1,300 kWh a month. The demand is also easy to average out. Since residential electricity service providers deal in large volume they can average out the cost of TDSP charges and make them a fixed component of the rate. These electricity companies than bundle the TDSP charges into the advertised rate to give you an exact picture of what your residential electricity rate will look like. Again most electric companies will do this for residential customers and it has become an industry standard norm. Only a handful of energy companies do not use this practice and they seem to keep it a secret on their sites as you usually can only discover that additional TDSP charges will be added when reading the fine print of their contract or asking interrogating questions to the sales rep.
    • Another practice involves having a “fuel surcharge” clause in the fine details of the contract in that little tiny print on page 6 or something. Most customers will never ask or look to discover that their fixed rate they have “locked into” can change when fuel prices go up. The Texas electricity grid relies on natural gas to spin the turbines that create our Texas electric power. Natural gas is about 45% of the generation fuel we use to create electricity in Texas and Dallas and Houston are big recipients of this fuel source. Natural gas prices go up all the time and right now are near a low in the market. This low means that “what goes down must eventually come up” as the old commodities adage goes. We beg to differ that you are really “locking in” to anything considering fuel prices go up and down everyday. A fuel surcharge is one of the biggest jokes to put in a fixed electricity rate contract. If you are buying a variable wholesale price for your residential electricity service and want to take on the risk than a fuel surcharge is great. I personally am on an MCPE type of residential electricity rate that goes up and down based on market conditions. It is fine to sign up on one of these rates if you know that is what you have agreed to. The problem is that some Texas electricity companies literally have a business model that is based on assuming their customers have confusion already about price. These electric providers  know what they can and cannot get away with. By adding something in the details of the contract while leaving the splash page that hooks in customers void of any reference to the additional fuel surcharge they are deceiving their customers. Sometimes a reference might be made in microscopic print after an asterisks at the bottom of the page. One way or another the electricity provider operating in this manner doesn’t do enough to inform the customer about what electricity rate they are really agreeing to.
    • A recent comment by a visitor on our site gave some helpful information about an electricity company that according to him had a business model based on customer confusion over electricity price. We have taken out that Texas electricity providers name since we do not have any way of knowing if this is true but you can read for yourself someone who apparently has a little inside knowledge of some of these games that are played.

Dear A—- Customers-

1st thing 1st…A—- Energy is owned by a company called F—— Energy, a wholesale energy provider. They purchased a large power plant called Basque about a year ago that cost them about 600 million dollars. They are leveraged to the hilt and this cost has been passed on to the consumer through their retail provider A—- Energy controlled by F——.

A—-’s personnel is a patchwork of bufoons and people who don’t know how to deal with customers and are very green when it comes too being an REP. It was once said in a meeting by their pricing person that he wanted to quote, “Take advantage of people who do not know anything about price.” unquote. I notice he made good on his promise to J—– V—, the flamboyant CEO of A—-. I guess this is the reason that they have targeted the hispanic community with this exorbit price. How unfortunate.

Again, they have uneducated people at levels that they should not be at by any stretch of the imagination and they use tactics that are possibly in violation of PUCT rules and regulations. They have over two hundred BBC complaints against them and have had a expose by the Houston Chronicle informing the people of the many complaints. When V— was asked by the Reporter if he knew about the many complaints, V— totally lied to them about his knowledge of the complaints. He knew about all of them and doesn’t give a flying, well you know. I knew they were ignorant about their knowledge, I didn’t know they were that unethical.

So what is my point in writing about the bad Texas electricity companies out there? It is a pretty important topic as having electric providers out there tricking customers and doing illegal things is bad for everybody. It is bad for myself who is in this business trying to do something honest, it’s bad for ethically run electricity companies like the ones in the Texas electricity comparison chart above, and it could easily bring on more government regulation. With a possible government take over of the health care industry, GM, and who knows what other industries do we really want to turn into Canada? These rogue Texas electricity companies do get sued from time to time but they make a lot of money and have increased their profit margins through dishonest business practices. It is important to bring to light the dishonest practices of a handful of energy companies so that Texas electricity customers know that not all providers operate in this manner.

For a clear easy to understand apples to apples comparison of discount electricity rates in Texas please look at the top of this article for a comparison of several reputable electricity providers in Texas. All fees and charges are disclosed, there are no hidden fees or fuel surcharges, and several different fixed electricity rates are available. You can compare from cheapest to most expensive, pick a no deposit plan, green energy plan, Fast move in, or just go with a shorter term option. If you have questions after comparing electricity companies please give us a call at 1-800-971-4020 back to top ^

New Age Power Brokers and Glacial Energy not an MLM Company

New Age Power Brokers sounds a bit uhh? new age I guess 🙂 So they have a little bit of a hippie name so what lets learn more about this company. Apparently from what I can tell New Age Power Brokers primarily sells for Glacial Energy which is licensed to do business in quite a few states. Altogether it looks like they can sell natural gas and electricity service in the following states:

New York Connecticut Illinois Michigan
Texas Rhode Island Washington DC Pennsylvania
Maryland Massachusetts Delaware Coming Soon: California
New Jersey Maine New Hampshire Coming Soon: Ohio

Not an MLM Energy Company, More Like a Power Brokering Opportunity

New Age Power Brokers and Glacial Energy Brokering MCPE Prices for Commercial Businesses in Texas

New Age Power Brokers and Glacial Energy Brokering MCPE Prices for Commercial Businesses in Texas

New Age Power Brokers offers an opportunity that they say is not an MLM opp but instead 40% on the commission they receive when a sales associate of their’s brokers a commercial electricity deal for Glacial Energy through New Age Power Brokers. So basically it appears that New Age Power Brokers is building a large work from home commercial energy sales force using a straight forward business model of paying these sales associates a percentage on the commission Glacial Energy or another provider gives them. My only concern is that as a “broker” New Age Power Brokers should be going out to more electricity providers than just Glacial otherwise the term “broker” is a little misleading. We assume that New Age Power Brokers receives bids from several REP’s in the pricing process but the concern is not out of place as many brokers in Texas end up just being a shil company for one or two electric companies. We looked around on the web and found that Glacial Energy is the main brand being offered by New Age Energy Brokers and would like to know other REP’s they offer when pricing electricity rates for their customers. It is important that when using a broker a Texas business receives multiple bids to get a complete shopping experience.

After a closer examination it looks like they have a compensation plan they call a business to business referral program and according to commenter Stacy in the comment section below she explains that the New Age compensation plan is a “Direct Marketing Business Model”. “New Age is not an MLM because while they do earn a commission on sales, it is a set rate ALL the time. There are no levels. That is called a Direct Marketing business model.” The obvious thing people look at are the levels going down to 7 but what sets New Age a part from an MLM business plan is that there are no requirements for earning commissions on different levels. If your business referrals stretch down multiple levels you get paid on those without having to meet any additional requirements. The fact that it goes down to 7 levels which sounds a lot like several MLM companies I have heard about does not make it an MLM business plan but does share in the “direct marketing” aspect that both MLM and New Age’s compensation plan use. My previous question about how is this not an MLM company, am I missing something has been answered by Stacy in the comment section below? As you can see New Age does not offer an MLM compensation but a direct marketing sales compensation plan. The example chart showing a perfect world scenario of what the commissions could turn into do look a little sensational, I think everyone can agree that direct marketing will never have a perfect world result as in the example below.

To watch an educational video of what an MLM or pyramid related business is feel free to watch below.  Also look at their compensation plan and see how as the numbers get bigger the chart starts to resemble a pyramid. Although the New Age compensation plan does not fit in the MLM category you can see that the compensation structure looks a bit like a pyramid in their business direct marketing payment structure.
[kaltura-widget wid=”mza9oi1uuc” width=”410″ height=”364″ addpermission=”0″ editpermission=”3″ /]

How is this not an MLM Pyramid?

How is this not an MLM Pyramid?

Glacial Energy Offers MCPE Rates Which is a Texas Variable Electricity Price

Glacial Energy can be easily mistaken as Glacier Energy like the thing the Titantic ran into. Most people will need a reminder as it isn’t often that people refer to things as being “Glacial”. Another possible source of confusion is what exactly 40% of what is the commission a sales associate is paid? 40 percent commission is 40 percent of usually 3 mils if they charge industry standard commission. Some brokers charge whatever they can get away with although 3 mils is pretty standard. So lets figure out commission on a business using 400,000 kilowatt hours a year. We take .003 and multiply that times 400,000 = $1,200. The sales associate with New Age would get 40% of that which would be $480. If the sales associate signed up a commercial business like a hair salon or paint supply store the usage would be more like 40,000 kilowatt hours on the high end. Lets figure the commission on that. 40,000 kWh x .003 = $120. New Age will pay their sales associate 40 percent of that which would be $48. They will probably pay this out over the course of the year which means 48 divided by 12 months is $4 a month for a small retail store. If your not planning to sign up large commercial facilities you might get discouraged signing up the little retail shops like this.

Unbelievable Wholesale Prices or Just Your Standard High Risk MCPE Price?

Glacial Energy has unbelievable electricity prices as low as 4 – 5 cents per kWh according to what an energy consultant told me today that he heard from someone who just spoke with a Glacial rep. I also spoke with an MLM work from home junkie who mentioned the name Glacial Energy as a “wholesale electricity company” offering 4 cent rates and said that this is a new opportunity that pays 40% commission. Glacial Energy’s customer that called today believed they were on a fixed electricity price at around 4 cents per kWh. We were quite amazed as this is way outside the retail margins of the most business savvy Texas electricity provider. The company also offers no deposit commercial energy in Texas. Needless to say most of the energy consultants in the office made some kind of remark that the rates smell of something fishy. Giving Glacial Energy the benefit of the doubt we must assume their customers might be misunderstanding something. After closer examination it appears the 4.5 cent per kWh rate is an MCPE variable price. These prices fluctuate with the balancing energy market and can double and triple in price in just a few days. Last summer they doubled and tripled in price and stayed there for 3 – 4 months. When signing a customer to an MCPE price there are also TDSP charges and line loss and ancillary charges. I am not sure if Glacial Energy is including line losses or ancillary charges in their quoted price but we will assume they are unless we hear otherwise. MCPE is a great thing to sign up for as a commercial business but you definitely want to make sure you know the risks and what options are available to blend the MCPE price with a fixed rate. You could also lock in something called “heat rate” or lock in “natural gas” prices which is 45% of the fuel that generates Texas electricity. By doing a little hedging when signing up for a variable electricity price like MCPE a large commercial or industrial business can limit the amount of exposure of an MCPE electricity price.

More About MCPE Prices and Additional TDSP Charges

Usually when we get several customers calling us saying that they are receiving a too good to be true offer from a provider we see a few months later that customers are calling instead saying how they have been ripped off by that provider. It takes a few months for the customer to get the bill and notice that the price they thought they had is quite a bit higher. We see that Glacial Energy really is offering Texas electricity rates that are this low which is good news for those considering signing up with Glacial Energy. Based on what you can hedge energy for, 4 cents seems out of the ballpark unless it is an MCPE electricity rate. Since we now know Glacial Energy is advertising an MCPE rate we can recommend to potential electric customers that it is ok to sign up with Glacial on an MCPE price provided you understand the risks and check on what TDSP charges, line loss charges, and ancillary charges have been included in their rates. One way to check on these additional charges to be bundled onto the MCPE electricity price is to get a break down of their “energy only” price all “TDSP charges” and then the total “bundled electricity rate “including all fees and charges. Make sure anything that is obscure in the contract is explained in a dollar amount.  A provider should be able to break down all charges although the TDSP charges will be a very close estimate based on your previous years usage history or a close estimate on estimated usage if you are a new company just starting up.

Learn More About a Reverse Auction Process That Puts a Businesses Usage in a Competitive Bid Process

We encourage Texas electricity customers to check out Glacial Energy and see what their total bundled electricity price looks like compared to a few other providers. It could be that Glacial is offering an MCPE rate that is low cost by nature when fuel prices are low. The issue with MCPE is that if not combined with a fixed rate product can spiral out of control. Last summer (summer of 2008) MCPE prices reached triple their average prices. Texas commercial businesses that were not combining their MCPE rate with a fixed rate paid dearly. A risky MCPE electricity rate can be low risk for some smaller businesses that will only see a few hundred dollar price increase per month in their electricity costs but for a large business it could be several thousand dollars in unprepared for energy costs.

To learn more about wholesale electricity rates in Texas please visit our Texas commercial energy page and fill out our form. An energy consultant would be happy to take your commercial electricity usage through a reverse auction process with 10 – 15 different Texas electricity companies that will compete to win your business.

Power to Choose Shows TXU Energy at 13 Cents for a 12 Month Fixed Rate

From time to time we like to check in and see how the larger companies like TXU Energy and Reliant Energy compare to the over 40 different retail electricity providers selling electricity service in Texas. TXU Energy has never seemed like the price leader as their brand is quite recognizable and many people feel safe and secure when choosing a brand name they recognize. Although the TXU Energy retail division has been sold to a new company called Energy Futures Holdings they still have their core billing and customer relationship management tools to give their customers a good experience. The issue is that their electricity rates just are not very good when comparing them to numerous other Texas electricity companies.

TXU Energy as of today (July 27 2009) shows that their 12 month fixed electricity rate is 13 cents per kWh in the Dallas Fort Worth area. This is quite a bit higher than several other electricity companies offering Dallas electricity prices in this area. Although TXU is a well established company there are several electric providers in Texas that now compete very well against TXU and their rates are lower. We have an electricity comparison chart that shows some of these Texas energy providers. What you will see in the chart is a clear apples to apples comparison with all fees and charges disclosed. If one of the electricity providers has a monthly service fee you will see that in the chart along with the rate. Some electricity companies do not have a monthly service but just a rate. The electricity rates compare much cheaper than what TXU Energy is currently offering their Dallas and Fort Worth Texas customers.

Take a look at the electricity rates in our residential electricity comparison chart above and choose a low cost electric company in the Dallas, Fort Worth or North Texas area. If you live outside the Dallas Fort Worth area just choose your area from the area box.

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