Texas Residential Electricity Market Report 2009

What’s happening With Residential Electricity Service This Spring 2009

The summer time is a peak time period where electricity consumers start moving into new homes and apartments as well as begin shopping for a competitive Texas electric company. There are several electric companies to choose from. Many energy consumers have heard of energy providers like TXU Energy, Reliant Energy, and Direct Energy. There are still a lot of people in Texas that do not realize that they could save several hundred dollars a year by shopping for an electric rate with some of the smaller but reputable electric companies in Texas. Loyal followers of Reliant Energy and TXU Energy may be surprised to know that both of these companies sold out to companies based out of the state of Texas. TXU Energy sold their business in the largest leveraged buyout in US corporate history. The company was sold to two private equity companies with about 80% in leveraged capital. This leveraged buyout simply means that it will be a long time before these private equity companies will actually own TXU Energy without the help of the banks financing them.

Loyal Customers with Reliant and TXU Energy

Reliant Energy was also bought in 2009 by a company called NRG Energy which is based in New Jersey. Loyal followers of TXU Energy and Reliant Energy have been switched to a different electric company whether they are aware of it or not. Many times after a buyout there are billing issues and other concerns due to migrating billing systems into one core system. TXU Energy will unlikely be changing their billing system since they are not merging with another electric company. NRG Energy however could potentially be tweaking their billing system in some way to accommodate Reliant Energy or vice versa. When shopping with a smaller but more competitive Texas electric company you can stand to save as much as $600 a year or more than just going with a name brand like Reliant or TXU Energy. TXU Energy rates right now as of May 22 2009 are quite a bit higher than several other energy providers that have accurate billing, cheap rates, and good customer service. Reliant Energy rates are being advertised as being “up to” 10% lower. Why does Reliant Energy just go all the way and say “our electric rates are now 10% lower?” Even if Reliant Energy discounts their electricity rate by 10% you will still find that their energy rates are quite a bit higher than several more competitive electric companies like Champion Energy or Startex Power.

TXU and Reliant are Not The Enemy But Why are Their Rates so High?

We are not saying that TXU Energy rates or Reliant Energy rates are the worst thing you could possibly get on but we are encouraging loyal customers of theirs to shop around. Reliant isn’t the only electric service company on the block in Houston anymore. There are great tools to compare Reliant Energy rates and TXU energy rates in detailed apples to apples electric rate comparisons. By looking through the rates next to other providers you can see all fees and charges and know exactly what the difference in price will be if you go with a more competitive electric provider. Many of these electricity comparison tools even have a number to call to speak with an energy consultant who can help in making sense of exactly how much money a residential electric service customer could save. Most Texas electric providers can sign you up completely online with just a few bits of information and a few clicks. The residential electric service customer has a 3 days right of rescission of they decide that the electric rate that switched to is not what they really wanted to do. Once you have switched to a Texas electric company it is encourage to go ahead and stay with that company until the contract has ended because canceling early could put you in a bad light with that provider. If you ever wanted to go back to the electric company you cancelled early on they may want an unreasonable deposit amount.

Energy Price Manipulation Conspiracies Abound

Houston Texas is now the energy hub and retail electric provider hub of Texas. We have Enron to blame for lobbying the Texas government to deregulate the Texas electricity market in 2002. Enron created a nightmare when deregulation first began as consumers immediately assumed back in 2002 that deregulation was not working because of the natural gas fuel price spike. The fuel price increase happened at the same time deregulation began which made people in the know suspicious of large electric providers and distribution companies who potentially had subsidiary companies assisting in this fuel price increase. The added notion that made people even more angry was that since Enron was the main company lobbying to make deregulation go through in Texas that they must have manipulated prices. That Enron or some subsidiary or loosely tied connections was additionally some how to blame for price manipulation has even made those initially in favor of the success of deregulation to back track. The mayor of Houston in the beginning was very upbeat and touting the success of electricity deregulation on his site and in 2007 he kind of changed his tune and conceded that Texas electricity deregulation was in fact a failure.

The idea was that maybe their was a little price manipulation going on to help in the confusion that deregulation was the reason for the upswing in electricity prices. The real cause of electricity price increases could have been a little nudging by certain subsidiary companies to assist in pushing up the price of natural gas futures which is the controlling fuel price tied to electricity prices in Texas. The ability to track who exactly may have manipulated the prices up is still in debate but there are 60 minute specials and evidence available for those willing to search the internet. There is also the very high likely hood that due to fuel supply issues because of a high demand for electricity that prices increased to unreasonably high levels. Typically prices will go up if their is a shortage in the supply of natural gas. There was a historical low supply of natural gas in 2002 during high peak demand in the summer which is a common sense explanation for why Texas electricity rates went up in 2002. In the summer of 2008 however we saw electricity prices and natural gas prices go up to historically high prices with no correlation to a lack of supply. The year of 2008 confirmed in many expert minds that price manipulators may indeed still be at work in the market but because of the hidden nature of commodity trading it is very hard to verify these conspiracy theories.

Significant Decrease in Electricity Rates Since Last Year (2008)

This May 2009 we are looking at electric rates that are 6 – 10 cents per kWh lower than what residential electric rates looked like at this same time last year. Companies like Dynowatt, National Power, Amigo Energy, Riverway Power, and a few other electricity companies were hit very heavily with a large amount of customer complaints due to electricity rate increases. Many of these electric service customers were on a variable market rate that by nature was subject to go up and down with the natural gas commodities market and the MCPE index. Some of these energy providers like National Power and Riverway Power attempted to raise what was initially advertised as a “fixed electric rate” to be more inline with the market. Because National Power Company and Riverway Power had signed people up on a fixed energy price the PUCT of Texas did not allow them to not honor the rates they signed their customers at. These two companies are no longer operating in Texas. Amigo Energy had to pay some fines and is currently being sued by their previous CEO of the company in a related issue around the time Amigo had these high price fluctuations on their variable Texas electric rate. Dynowatt is under no litigation in relation to the variable electric rate price swing in the summer of 2008 because their product was a variable rate the customers had agreed to. Since the price swing Dynowatt electric rates have come back down and look attractive again.

For a detailed comparison of electric rates we recommend looking at a price comparison of several reputable Texas electric companies and picking the price and term that suits your situation best. Not all electric providers advertise their electricity prices in an ethical manner. Because not all energy companies play fair we only select electric companies that have clearly stated charges and fees and a total bundled electric rate. You will find that our price comparison displays all fees and charges in a very clear apples to apples comparison that leaves nothing to guessing. Spark Energy rates used to be listed on our energy comparison site although Spark is currently not pursuing expansion in the Texas market at this time as they are focusing their strategy on natural gas sales in the North East. Right now Champion Energy rates and Startex Power rates remain the cheapest available offers in our comparison chart. You can find our comparison in the middle of this electricity market report. If you have more questions that were not answered here please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-971-4020

TXU Energy Rates

Compare TXU Energy Rates

If you have been needing to compare and shop for a cheaper Texas electric provider but just have not had the time we would like to encourage you to do so.

Texas electric rates during the summer of 2010 and 2011 have been around 8 – 9 cents per kWh on average when looking at the cheapest providers. During the summer of 2008 a cheap rate would have been 16 cents a kWh. As of October 2011 you can sign up for a cheap electric rate in the Dallas area at around 8.3 cents a kWh for 12 months fixed. In Houston the rate is closer to 9.3 cents a kWh for a 1 year fixed rate. If your TXU Energy rates are becoming unbearably high then we recommend switching to a cheaper electric company. We only recommend that you come off of your TXU Energy rate if you are currently off contract with them. We never recommend that you break a current contract that has not expired yet. The historical utility area of TXU is the Dallas area but they now operate in Houston as well. If you live in a different area you may enter that cities zipcode and click on the button to bring up custom price comparisons for your location.

Going From TXU to Reliant Energy

If you have considered switching off of TXU Energy and onto a new electric provider that you have heard advertise on the radio than please read this. Reliant Energy rates are currently being advertised (back in May of 2009) on billboards and on radio saying that they are now lowering their electric rates by “up to %10”. Unfortunately this means that you would still have to pay Reliant Energy around 13 – 14 cents a kWh when there are several energy providers offering residential electric rates in the 9 – 10 cents per kWh range for a 1 year fixed rate (as of May 2009). Don’t be fooled by a clever marketing campaign. Reliant Energy radio ads have their coworkers on the ads explaining that they love being able to help people but in reality paying an inflated price for electricity service is not really a help in this current economy. There are several reputable electric companies in Texas that offer much cheaper electricity service than Reliant and TXU Energy rates. We have a comparison tool of electric companies that beat both Reliant Energy rates and TXU Electric rates that we would be happy for you to try for yourself and see if in fact there are savings.

Comparison Chart Shows All Fees and Charges in Energy Rate

We encourage you to browse through the 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year fixed electric rate terms and pick the rate and monthly term that suits you best. The chart tool above has all fees and charges disclosed so you know exactly what you are signing up for. We want you to have no surprises when signing up for electric service as some providers we do not have on the chart do not disclose all charges in their rate. We do not work with Texas electricity companies that hide certain fees and charges that most electric companies will disclose in plain English.

Other Energy Providers and Rates

Spark Energy

Amigo Energy

Champion Energy

Stream Energy

TXU Energy in Dallas and Houston

Electric rates in Dallas and Houston have started coming back up the last couple of weeks although today energy prices are back down a little. This trend up represents the possible beginning of a new trend back up. The summer is approaching and if anyone remembers what electric rates were doing last summer you would be wise to lock into an electricity rate now.

Since Texas electricity rates are still quite low as of today (May 20 2009) I wanted to see what Reliant Energy and TXU Energy were offering for residential electric service in some of the larger cities like Houston and Dallas Texas. I first went out to the powertochoose website to see what the government was showing for TXU Energy’s 12 month fixed electric rate. They are showing that TXU Energy is advertising a rate of 14.7 cents per kWh. This is very high when you compare it with the cheapest reputable electric provider in the bunch. The cheapest provider in Dallas that is a quality company is with Champion Energy. They are currently showing an electricity rate at 9.2 cents per kWh with a $4.95 monthly service fee. This is multiple times cheaper then TXU Energy and you can learn more about this residential electric rate in the Dallas and North Texas area by clicking on the link below.

 

We also checked to see what TXU Energy’s closest competitor was offering in the Dallas Texas area. Right now Reliant Energy is working very hard via radio and billboard ads to take residential electric service customers away from TXU Energy in TXU’s territory. Reliant has a cheaper electric rate plan then TXU Energy in TXU’s own backyard. The Reliant Energy rate is also 20% renewable energy which offers a feel good factor for those wanting to save the environment from the pollution of coal fired power plants. One issue with the wind energy plan is that it may be energy that has been produced in another state so Texas doesn’t benefit from the environmental clean energy. Reliant Energy’s rate is 14.1 cents per kWh for their 12 month fixed rate. So we see that Reliant Energy beats TXU but Champion Energy beats both Reliant and TXU on price by several cents. If you compare the 14.1 and the 14.7 cent rate next to 9.2 cents per kWh with a $4.95 monthly service fee you end up saving several hundred dollars over the course of the year by signing up with a wholesale provider like Champion Energy.

You can learn more about Champion Energy by visiting their link and see for yourself why Champion Energy is a better choice over TXU Energy and Reliant Energy.

 

The Reliant and TXU Energy rates when compared in the Houston and Harris county area are similar in price difference with Champion Energy in that area as well. If you live in the Houston Texas area and would like to compare electric rates with multiple energy providers then please click on the comparison link below to learn more.

Houston Electric Rate Comparison

Last Year at This Time Where Were Electricity Prices?

If anyone was around in Texas last year during this time you probably remember having to pay one of the highest electricity bills you have ever had to pay in history. If you were already locked into a rate with a provider you were one of the smart ones who were protected during this volatile time. I saw a First Choice Power bill over 30 cents per kWh. I saw a few other Texas electric provider bills in the 24 cent per kWh range. Most Texas electricity companies were advertising fixed rates in the 16 cents per kWh range as can be seen in this historical chart: http://blog.electricitybid.com/index.php/2008/05/05/may-2008-houston-residential-electric-rate-comparison

The summer is the hottest time of the year and people begin cranking on that AC unit around May. Many people use double or triple their electric usage during this time. If you were using 2,500 kWh a month at this time and were paying 24 cents a kWh then you might have had a bill that totaled $600. First Choice Power customers may have had an electricity bill that was quite a bit higher. Several energy providers had sold unhedged power to their customers but were selling it as a fixed electric rate. National Power and Riverway Power were a couple of energy companies that did this and attempted to raise their fixed price on their customers when fuel prices went up. These providers no longer operate in Texas.  Some electric companies that were selling fixed energy prices without hedging eventually sold out to companies that had enough capital to take on the weak providers customers, honor the rate they charged and then hedged the energy they sold at a better time in the market.

Oil Prices from May 2008 to May 2009

Oil Prices from May 2008 to May 2009

Texas electricity rates have been coming down the last few months but have been toying with going back up for the past two weeks. These electric rates are down as of today but if you have read the news lately, a barrel of oil is considering going above $60 a barrel. Last year oil was hitting $100 a barrel and went as high as $140 before it tanked back down close to where it is today. We could be in for another disaster scenario this year considering how volatile energy prices can be. No one can accurately predict what energy prices will do but one thing we can say, electricity rates look pretty cheap right now when you compare them to last years prices at this time. You may wonder why we bring up the price of oil when talking about electricity. Oil and natural gas has a pretty strong correlation with electricity prices in Texas which is why we use the oil chart to compare. For instance last year a 1 year electric rate at this time was around 16 cents a kWh. This year you can lock in a 1 year rate around 10 cents a kWh. Now look at the oil chart to the left to see how oil prices were much higher last year then what prices look like today.

Right now a 1 year fixed electricity rate looks like the best rate. When you go out on a longer term fixed contract you will pay about 10% more but for the risk averse this could be worth it. By locking in for 2 or even 3 years you get in at a decent rate and avoid the volatile swings in electricity and fuel prices. When oil and natural gas commodities go up in price so does electricity. To avoid these volatile commodity price swings you should lock into something even if just for a year. You can compare the cheapest available residential electric rates by looking at the top left of this page in the side bar. We have the cheapest offers available there.

If you need a commercial Texas electric rate then please click on our contact link in the navigation bar at the top of this page and send us your information. A commercial energy consultant will call you right back.

Richardson Electric Rates in Comparison to TXU Energy

When choosing a Richardson electric rate you want to make sure you are signing up with a reputable Richardson energy company that does not have a track record for adding in hidden fees and charges. A residential Richardson energy provider should bundle all fees and charges in their electric rate they are advertising. If the rate is not bundled they should list any additional fees right below the electric rate being advertised so there is no question about what you are agreeing to. There is nothing that I hate more then to be tricked by a US company. We have enough regulations and rules to prevent an energy company from deceiving a customer but Richardson electricity companies will still do this from time to time. Not all Richardson electric providers are dishonest or expensive. We have a comparison of rates from multiple Richardson electric companies below. We also have Reliant and TXU Energy in our electricity comparison chart below.

TXU and Reliant No Longer the Price Leaders

You may notice in this May 2009 Richardson Texas electricity rate chart that TXU Energy and Reliant Energy have very expensive electric rates in comparison to the cheapest providers at the top. You may also see that Trickster Electric Company (name withheld be legal) has a cheap rate but we do not recommend them at this time as we continue to receive an excessive amount of complaints from their customers saying their electric rate is much higher once you receive an electric bill from them.

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

Get in touch with us!