Interesting Texas Power Facts for 2013

  • This year Texas has to deal with a Texas summer like we have to do every year but it won’t be the scorcher we typically have as we did in 2011.
  • Even though things will not be as hot we still have to contend with drought issues that likely will get even more severe than they have in the last few years.
  • Nuclear power provides 6% of electricity capacity for Texas, but will provide more than 12% of electricity actually used in 2013.
  • An agency called ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) manages the  flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers – representing 85 percent of the state’s electric load.
  • Natural gas and then coal are Texas’ primary electricity generation sources.
    • Texas has the largest wind capacity in the United States but still only produces 5 % of its electricity from wind power.
    • Texas holds a quarter of the United States oil reserves.
    • Texas holds 30 % of all US natural gas reserves.
    • Texas refines over a quarter of all petroleum fuels.
    • Today, there is no cost-effective way to capture the carbon dioxide
      output of the combustion of natural gas and coal, so any regulations that limit carbon dioxide emissions
      will either limit the use of natural gas, petroleum, and coal, or dramatically increase their
      prices which poses a threat to Texas’ refining businesses and natural gas resources.
    • Texas is not a member of a regional agreement to cap greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Texas does mandate that utilities generate from renewable sources a certain amount of
      the electricity that they sell.
    • Texas has the 16th highest Electricity Price, per kWh 10.18¢ on average compared to the rest of America. Although we have abundant supplies of natural gas we have to import coal and we have little in the form of hydro.
    • In 2011, Texas’s 27 petroleum refineries had a capacity of over 4.7 million barrels of crude oil per day and accounted for 27 percent of total U.S. refining capacity.
    • Texas accounted for 28 percent of U.S. marketed natural gas production in 2011, making it the leading natural gas producer among the States.
    • Texas led the Nation in wind-powered generation capacity in 2010 and is the first State to reach 10,000 megawatts of wind capacity.
    • Texas has a wide array of energy consumption but virtually no cheap hydro power.

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Texas Deregulation Has Lowered Consumer Prices Despite What Opposing Voices Say

electricitmarketsI have read many articles over the last few years of how electricity deregulation in Texas is not working. I hate to jump on conspiracy theory band wagons but the news media always seems to point out that electricity deregulation hasn’t worked and give biased stats to direct the reader to the same conclusion.

When you look at the whole picture the numbers show a different conclusion than what is touted in the news. Electricity deregulation in Texas actually has reduced electricity prices for consumers in Texas.

In reality Texas consumers enjoy shopping for a cheap electric company in Texas and routinely do so and are benefited by lower prices.

If you are an electric service consumer in a deregulated area of Texas and are willing to shop for the best price you will pay far below the regulated prices you saw a decade ago under regulation by the state.

When you add in inflation to the price of electricity it comes out even better for the consumer.

Let’s consider the most competitive city in Texas for retail electricity, Houston. The Centerpoint Energy utility area covers the city of Houston and surrounding cities.

A year ago a 1 year fixed rate could be had for about 9 cents per kilowatt-hour. The variable prices you could find went for around 5.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first month.

Compare these rates from last year with 2001 prices when Texas was still under complete electricity price regulation by the state.

In 2001 the regulated price for electricity was 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in the city of Houston and cities surrounding Houston. When you factor in inflation the comparable rate as of today would be 13.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

As of today a consumer can shop around and save about 45 % less than what you could get in the not so competitive electricity market of 2001.

Think about this for a moment, have you seen a reduction in your cable television bill, phone, groceries, taxes since 2001? In comparison electricity has been declining in price in Texas over the last few years but many other essential services have been going up.

Lower natural gas prices definitely help keep your electricity price cheap but as of right now the Henry Hub spot price for natural gas is actually 40 % higher than it was in December of 2001.

Considering Texas generates much of its electricity using natural gas this should surprise you that in a competitive market we have lower prices even with a disadvantage in the price of the raw resource we use to generate electricity.

You will find some municipalities and Co-ops in the state that charge their customers less for electricity than in retail areas but this is not true in all municipalities and co-ops and often changes. In fact right now many municipalities and co-ops are undergoing rate changes.

I have seen Co-ops and municipalities that have prices below some retail providers as of today that at one time were charging 2 cents per kilowatt-hour higher than everyone else.

I bring up the example of the municipality and Co-op to simply explain that you can’t point to the municipality that happens to be lower in price for a few months as to proof deregulating an electricity market doesn’t work.

Even with a cheaper price coming from a municipality you will still find areas of the state that are deregulated with even cheaper prices than the municipality. The problematic price difference next door such as Tyler Texas’ prices and Longview’s prices don’t give you an accurate picture.

A municipality escapes several expenses a retail electric provider has simply by being a municipality with access to public funds but even still some retail providers in Texas remain cheaper.

A common argument is also that had the state of Texas kept the electricity markets regulated prices would likely have remained unchanged. This is very unlikely when you take into account that utilities have taken on rate increases to build more power plants, upgrade transmission lines and power poles, and simply to fund operations like health care and pensions for employees.

Even under regulation news organizations would likely still banter about that the regulated electricity market has run a muck each time a price increase happens to cover these utility upgrades.

The California energy market manipulation of 2001 that had Reliant Energy charged and Enron trading managers plead guilt to market manipulation is used to explain that an electricity market should never be deregulated.

In reality California is a benchmark case study in what not to do and has allowed other states to set up a system that prevents such manipulations from ever happening again.

The Texas PUCT, ERCOT, and others police the energy market transactions that happen in Texas and have even been blamed for over policing the system causing inefficiencies in the deregulated market. If anything Texas does too much to police the energy wholesalers that deal in these very large energy block trades.

In summary, it should be obvious when looking at the whole picture that deregulation has had a huge benefit to the electricity service customer by actually lowering prices. If you want to make the competitive markets work in your favor you need to shop for the cheapest provider each time your energy contract is up. I always recommend putting a reminder to go off in your phone a month before your contract ends so you are sure to always have the lowest price a competitive energy market is able to give you.

You can read more about this topic by going to this article

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

June 2009 Highest Priced Residential Electric Providers

To see a list of the most expensive Texas electric service providers selling residential energy please click on the below link.

Click Here to See the Highest Priced Texas Electric Providers

If you need to see the cheapest residential electric companies you can use the chart below.

These are Some of the Cheapest Dallas and North Texas Area Residential Electric Providers

All fees and charges are included in the below chart and all the electric companies in the chart are reputable stable residential energy companies in Texas. There are no hidden fees or fuel surcharges in these electric rates.

Electric Rates in all deregulated cities in Texas have come down quite a bit since last summer. Last summer a typical low cost electric rate at this time was around 16 cents a kWh for residential home owners and apartments. Now electric rates in the North Texas and East Texas area are priced at 10 – 11 cents per kWh for a 1 year fixed rate term. This is a very low price cosidering when last summer a residential electric rate in Dallas or Houston would cost anywhere from 16 – 31 cents per kWh. First Choice Power had a rate of 31 cents per kWh with some customers. We saw only a few months ago where Nueces Electric Coop was charging one of their customers 34 cents per kWh. We want to encourage residential Texas electric customers to not fall for a too good to be true rate offer but also to sign up for an exbortantly inflated electricity rate. Right now the name brand electric companies most Texas energy consumers are familiar with like TXU or Reliant are charging some of the highest prices in Texas. First Choice Power has come down from their high at 31 cents per kWh but they are still charging a lot when comparing their electric rate with several reputable discount electric companies.

A Quick Warning About Unbundled Too Good to be True Electric Rate Offers

Something to pay close attention to when deciding on a Texas electric rate is if the provider is hiding additional charges they do not make you aware of when quoting you a rate. For instance, Liberty Power advertises on the internet a residential Texas electricity rate that does not have the TDSP charges included in the energy price. We called Liberty Power to confirm what their energy price was on the phone and they did not disclose to us that there would be an additional 4 cents per kWh that would be added to the rate in the form of TDSP charges. We had to specifically ask them after the sales call if there would be an additional TDSP charges tagged on to the rate. Liberty Power also did not make us aware of a monthly service fee when quoting their residential electric rate to us. Their rate at the time that they were quoting was in the 7 cents per kWh range. Imagine thinking you were locking in at 7 cents per kWh to than get your first months bill that also contained 4 cents on top of that rate making the rate 11 cents per kWh and then add the monthly fee of $8.99 to that you have a rate in the 11.5 cents per kWh range.

It would be better for Liberty Power to just disclose to people what their rate is as well as what the customer can expect to pay in TDSP charges since most residential electric customers will pay about the same TDSP charge. Most residential electric companies in Texas will fix the TDSP charges and bundle them into their advertised electric rate. This means that most residential electric providers in Texas make their customers aware of all charges in an “all-in” quoted rate instead of just quoting the “energy only” portion of the rate. We hope this explanation can help you avoid signing up with an electric company that does not disclose all charges in their advertised price.

We visited Liberty Power’s site and they had no hard evidence of what their advertised residential electric rate is although you can sometimes find it on a Google or Yahoo ad that is just the “energy only” price. They had a quote form to fill out but no prices displayed anywhere on their site. We are very curious why they do not provide this pricing evidence on their website? A quick glance on another too good to be true offers shows that “Trickster Energy” (name hidden because of legal) is advertising a “fixed rate” at 7.5 cents per kWh with a $4.95 monthly service fee in their facts label and displays what appears to be a total bundled rate at 10.1 cents per kWh for the Oncor Utility area which is Dallas, Fort Worth, North Texas, and parts of East Texas. When reading their facts label which most customers pass on reading we find that their total bundled rate is really not the 10.1 cents per kWh that it shows. I called Trickster Energy and asked them what their rate was including TDSP charges and they said that the Oncor area rate is 10.1 cents per kWh but does not include the TDSP charges. She also went on to say she has “no idea what those charges are”. The issue is that providers know aproximately what those TDSP charges are for residential energy consumers and can easily give a close aproximate by saying 3 – 4 cents per kWh. Based on this conversation with this Trickster Energy sales lady the rate would be 10.1 + 4 cents in TDSP charges = 14.1 cents per kWh. It doesn’t matter that these additional charges are coming from the TDSP company. The issue is full price disclosure on the main advertised splash page for the residential electric price. The customer should have a clear front page example of the total “bundled rate” that includes all fees and charges including the TDSP charges.

Take a look at a Tricksters facts label as of June 8 2009. You will see that they have a charge showing 7.5 cents per kWh for the Oncor Electric Utility area but then at the top for Oncor they show 10.1 cents per kWh. Now you would assume that the total bundled electric rate is 10.1 since you have a low fee of 7.5 cents per kWh in the document at the bottom but a few cents higher at the top where it says 10.1 cents per kWh. This would be a great all in bundled residential electric rate right now. Now we call Trickster Energy and ask them if the 10.1 cent per kWh rate includes all charges. The lady on the phone says that the rate will be 10.1 cents per kWh but does not include the TDSP charges. She goes on to say that she has no idea what the TDSP charges will be? Even though it is an easy average to tell the customer she claims to not know. If you are a Trickster Energy customer let me finish the sales call correctly. Customer: “So what is the total bundled rate including TDSP Charges?” Sales Agent: “The total charges if when adding an aproximate TDSP charge of 4 cents per kWh will be 14.1 cents per kWh.” Customer: “Why is it that almost all Texas electric providers that sell residential electric service offer a total bundled residential rate in their advertisement that includes TDSP charges but your company does not?” Sales Agent: “Well we know our bosses know what the average cost of these TDSP charges will be but we have been told to state that we have no idea what these charges are.” Customer: “Doesn’t this allow the customer to assume that the rate will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 – 11 cents per kWh when in reality it will raise the electric rate several cents higher?” Sales agent: “No comment!”

Highest Priced Texas Electric Companies

These are the highest priced residential electric providers in the Dallas, Fort Worth, North Texas and parts of East Texas area. This comparison will also serve for showing who is pricing the highest in the Houston area as well although prices will typically be a little higher in Houston than in the Dallas Fort Worth area. The electric companies in the below list are reputable stable energy companies but happen to be offering electric rates at much higher prices than several other residential electric companies. There are also some electric providers in Texas that are advertising much lower rates than these providers but have hidden fees and charges they do not readily disclose on their websites or over the phone. We need to hear from consumers who have been tricked into what appeared to be a low rate but is really much higher.

Click here to see the Cheapest Available Residential Texas Electric Rates

Have You Been Surprised By Undisclosed Fees and Charges on Your Electric Bill?

If you have signed up at a higher electric rate than you were advertised by a Texas electric company than please fill out this form and let us know. There have been several complaints by Liberty Power and Trickster Energy customers that they were locked into an electric service rate much higher than what they were initially told. You may have been misled into an electric rate by one of these electric companies or possibly a different one we do not know about. Please feel free to let us know by filling out this quick form with your information.

Last Summer (2008) Some People Signed up at 15 Cents per kWh

Last summer a company by the name of Just Energy which also goes by the name of US Energy Savings Corp signed up many electric service customers to 5 year fixed residential electricity agreements. The reason so many Texas electricity customers signed up with Just Energy at 15 cents per kWh was because this was the cheapest rate when comparing 1, 2, and 3, and 5 year fixed electric rates.

Many did not realize that the summer of 2008 were some of the highest electricity prices in the Texas electric service markets history. By signing up for 5 years many Just Energy customers had locked themselves in at the highest time in the Texas energy market. Just Energy was not to blame for offering a 5 year fixed electricity agreement but consumers who decided to sign up for this long were strongly recommended by Electricity Bid to sign up for 6 months to 1 year even though the rate would be higher because it was our companies opinion that electricity rates would be coming back down. The summer of 2009 Texas saw some of the cheapest electricity rates we have seen but as of June it looks like the markets are heading back up again. We recommend 1, 2 and 3 year fixed rates at this time while prices are still low.

Electricity Bid helps you find an electric rate and provider to save you money and keep life simple.

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