Weird Electric Rate Comparison Sites To Stay Away From

As most of us, when we go into business we do it to make money. This site makes money by offering a great tool for verifying and comparing electric rates from multiple providers.

We always try and put companies to compare on our chart that are strong viable companies for the long term. We have likely met their CEO and have researched their history.

Our chart is made so that you can quickly compare no-nonsense rate plans like most all “fixed rate” plans.

What I have seen lately are some comparison sites that are owned by one electric supplier with ownership in multiple brand names.

These comparison sites are tricky because it looks like you are comparing prices from multiple providers but in reality the ownership is all by one company.

I am not saying that it is evil to make money in business by selling an online electric rate but it is important to be transparent to your customers and not present yourself as an unbiased comparison site when in reality all the providers on the comparison are actually one company.

I am shocked that there are sites out there like this as it seems like an extreme form of deceptive trade practices for an electric company to be involved in but I can only assume they know the risk and are willing to do it anyway.

Here at Electricitybid.com we are here to make money but we do business with the ultimate goal of living a life of integrity, treating our customers like we want to be treated, and simply doing a great job at what we know how to do.

We want to thank our customers for coming back and using us again and again, and please let us know if you have anything you would like to see on the comparison chart that is not there already or other suggestions.

In case you don’t know, you can use our chart by typing in your zipcode in the green box at the top right.

Tips for Selecting a Texas Energy Provider

Independence Day Promo Electric Rate From Bounce EnergyEvery May, our contract with our Texas energy provider comes up for renewal, and we have the power to choose whether to stay with our current provider or switch. In looking for a new provider and/or plan we not only want a good rate, but we first have to decide if we want a contract and what kind, and if we want to use green energy, all the while paying close attention to possible promotions and rewards programs. Here is the process we usually go through.

In order to choose a provider, it is best to start with a plan. The two most common plans are variable rate and fixed rate. With a fixed rate plan you’ll pay the same rate for electricity throughout the term of your contract (which is typically 2 years). The price can change only to reproduce actual price changes that are allowed by Public Utility Commission rules due to changes in law or regulatory charges. This plan is great for people who have a household budget since the rate stays the same, which protects you from rising energy prices; however, if market prices fall you have to wait until your contract is over to switch to a lower rate. If you think you might want to discontinue service after a short period of time, look for a company that does not have contracts or offers short term contracts. Companies that have contract periods often have a minimum term and if you cancel your service before the contract period ends, you might have to pay a penalty.

Variable rate, or often referred to as “month-to-month”, plans have no minimum contract period and are based on current energy market conditions. With this kind of plan, the rate you pay can fluctuate depending on the changes in the electricity market. Which means you can benefit from lowering energy rates and could help you to save on your energy bill. However, just as this type of plan allows you to save money when market prices fall, it could also have a negative affect if market prices rise because so would your electricity rate. For some people, dealing with constant changing electricity rates can be stressful so a fixed rate works best for them. On the other hand, there are others who like being able to always get the best rate and don’t mind searching for it, making a variable rate plan their best option.

Next is to choose between a non-renewable (standard) and a renewable (green) plan. You can check a Texas energy provider’s Electricity Facts Label (EFL) to see if their plan produces electricity from renewable resources such as solar, hydroelectric, landfill gas, biomass, geothermal, or wind. EFLs allow you to easily compare what each company has to offer to find the best fit for your energy consumption and budget. Each label contains the following information:

  • Electricity Rate: This is made up of the electric company’s average price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for 500 kWh, 1000 kWh and 1500 kWh, as well as a possible monthly customer service charge and seasonal pricing. Rates can differ depending on the number of kilowatt-hours so it’s important to look at your past usage. With some companies the more kilowatt-hours you use, the lower the rate will be.
  • Contract Terms: Some companies have minimum terms and will charge you an early cancellation fee, while others may not require a contract.
  • Power Generation Sources: The electricity provider should list from what resources the electricity is produced (coal, natural gas, renewable energy, etc.) The percentages will be graphed to compare them to the average usage for electricity generation statewide.
  • Emissions: In this section companies provide details on the types and percentage of emissions they create per kWh of electricity generated. The energy provider’s percentages will be graphed to show if the emissions are better or worse than the Texas average. This might be an important section for you if you’re interested in decreasing your carbon footprint.

Once you’ve decided which plan works for you, then the next step is to compare Texas electricity companies. You can do this by going to ElectricityBid.com where you can compare prices and ratings. Just enter your zip code and then pick the kind of plan you want. You will be able to see different Texas energy providers and their company rating, different plans offered, cancellation fee, if electricity is produced from renewable or non-renewable resources and the terms and rate for each plan. These websites will also show you promotions and incentives offered by each company and if they have a rewards program.

Lastly, review and compare all the possible incentives and rewards programs offered. Some companies offer rewards programs to their customers such as cash back and gifts. For example, Bounce Energy is currently rewarding its customers for paying their bills on-time. Customers who pay their bill on-time for 6 consecutive months receive their choice of 2 movie tickets or a free companion airfare ticket and also gain access to Bounce Energy’s VIP Customer Service line. The longer you pay on time, the more you get in return. Power providers might also offer incentives or promotions for signing up with a new plan such as gift cards, airline miles, charitable donations, or better rates if you sign up online. For example, Bounce Energy’s Express Move plan. This short term fixed rate plan makes moving much easier by not only turning on your electricity, but Bounce Energy will submit your USPS Change of Address form, add your name to the Do Not Mail and Do Not Call lists, give you free identity protection service and give you either a $25 Walmart or Home Depot gift card. Bounce Energy’s Terrific 12 plan gives the customer their choice of $25 gift cards to Target, Wal-Mart, GAP Inc., Shell, or a $25 bill credit.

As you’ve probably seen, there are many Texas energy providers and plans to choose from but by doing some research you will be able to find one that is right for your electricity needs and budget.

Online Resources
http://powertochoose.org
http://www.electricitytexas.com

Texas TDSP Charges Hard on Some Businesses

 

Mathew Tomlinson is sick of looking at his electric bill and being overcharged beyond the normal rate he has been paying his electric provider.

He is not alone as several other people in his business location have called angrily to their Piney Point Village electric company to express outrage at the higher electric rates.

Many residents have thought about drafting a petition regarding the higher electric rates and mailing it to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to try

and do something about the higher energy costs. ERCOT has had plenty of corruption in their ranks in the past and many have wondered if the tariffs and TDSP

charges have been done with the Texas consumer in mind. Kickbacks and a network of commercial bribes have caused operations at ERCOT to look a bit like

something you might see in Russia although the corruption element at ERCOT is all supposedly cleaned up now. Many were surprised the Texas ERCOT organization

created to oversee the electric grid in Texas would come up on corruption charges. Could there possibly be something to the claim that some of ERCOT’s rules

and regulations were created from past corruption and commercial bribery. If there is any hint of truth to this then all those Texas consumers fed up with higher rates may eventually feel vindicated when they get to say, “I told you so.”

ERCOT insists they are doing as much as they can to keep electric customers costs low. The nodal system that ERCOT is implementing across the state should

alleviate some cities from paying higher congestion and line loss related charges that the bigger cities in the region cause. This will help lower costs in some areas and give an incentive for larger cities to work on improving their efficiency in the electrical within buildings, with new pole and wires infrastructure, and lowering overall KW electricity demand from business to business.

Line items on an electric bill have caused confusion underneath the TDSP charges section. Many times for commercial customers the TDSP charges can make up 50% or more of a companies electric bill. This has caused many commercial companies to have to close shop as the electricity to run the business is too expensive to continue to stay in business.

Residential TDSP charges only make up a small percentage of the electric bill. Residential electric customers spend about 2 – 3 cents kWh in TDSP charges

while the remainder of the electric rate is from the Retail electric provider. The 2 – 3 cents in TDSP charges are past through from the pole and wires

utility company with no additional markup. There is currently no law in place in Texas that does not allow marking up the TDSP charges so some electric

providers have lowered their “energy only” rate only to then raise their “TDSP charges” higher then the normal pass through with no markup. This trick has

caused many people to second guess their electric bill when changing to the supposedly cheapest electric provider in Texas.

Natural Gas has been going up steadily which makes up most of the fuel that powers the electricity generation plants in Texas. Because natural gas is tied so

closely to Texas electric rates you see a very close correlation. Natural Gas hit a 3 year high not to long ago and electric rates in Texas also hit a 3 year

high at the same time. Having more alternative power generation plants can even out the erratic Texas electric prices and give Texas consumers a cheaper electric.

Building clean coal powered electric generation facilities as well as nuclear will help stabilize the electric prices in Texas. The United States is the

Mideast of coal if you were to compare us to the amount oil the Mideast controls. Texas should start building more coal power plants that can burn the coal

and a clean way. Clean coal power is a possibility and would drastically lower the states electricity rate.

Electric rates right now are so high because of the energy commodities market but that is not to say that there could still be some funny business going on

with some the PUCT’s (Public Utility Commission) and ERCOT’s tariffs and regulations. ERCOT did have a recent history of corruption and not everything is known about what all went on. The PUCT has no corruption related charges against them and in fact enforce strict rules and penalties against electric companies that do not obey by the rules.

Jim from Texas City said, “I have an electric bill where I pay about 16 cents kWh just in TDSP charges for my business. This became so high I could no longer

afford to stay in business. I eventually had to close my bed and breakfast and work for somebody else.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for about 75 percent of the state

Most commercial business owners in Texas paying the amount in TDSP charges as Jim was paying would be willing to sign a petition and send it to ERCOT. The issue is that small business owners sometimes get hit with a TDSP charge that just doesn’t justify keeping the doors to their business open any more. “The electric rate for a business in this situation is just to high” says, Jim.

“Texas commercial businesses I talked to said they would sign a petition even though they imagined it probably would do absolutely no good.” he said.

Jim, wasn’t confident that having a petition signed by several business owners in Texas would do any good but he wanted to go on record that he was not happy with electric rates for businesses in Texas.

Most people don’t say anything to the government, ERCOT or the PUCT about how they feel but I think somebody should say something to show people are beginning to take notice”, he said.

ERCOT maintains they are operating at the highest ethical and professional conduct and have done everything in their power to remove corruption in their ranks. The PUCT’s tariffs and regulations related to TDSP charges have been fashioned based upon the fairest business model they could agree upon that considers several different tiers of energy usage. Some companies demand more energy at one particular time in the day but do not use that many kilowatt hours throughout the day. These companies get hit with a TDSP charge that is made up of about 90% in demand charges. Companies that find themselves in this situation should hire an electrician to come in and audit the electrical in the building for ways to become more efficient and to lower their peak electric demand KW.

Electricity Rate Comparison by State

A Comparison of Electricity rates by State

Texas is one of the only states that has a self-suficient power grid where they do not sell their electricity to other states. The ERCOT agency manages this Texas grid and has an MCPE market price that changes every 15 minutes. Excess electricity can be bought and sold over this market by Retail and wholesale Electricity Providers. Texas generates about 47% of their electricity from natural gas power plants and the rest of it is from coal and other power sources such as wind energy. Among all states, Hawaii has the highest electricity rate (19 cents), and Idaho has the lowest electricity rate (4.75 cents).

Average Revenue per Kilowatthour by State

(Lowest to Highest Rate as of January 2007)

Rank State Average Electricity Rate for
All Sectors
(Cents per Kilowatthour)
1 Idaho 4.75
2 West Virginia 5.10
3 Wyoming 5.17
4 Kentucky 5.42
5 Nebraska 5.60
6 North Dakota 5.67
7 Missouri 5.70
8 Utah 5.86
9 Indiana 6.01
10 Kansas 6.33
11 Oklahoma 6.35
12 South Dakota 6.45
13 Washington 6.51
14 Iowa 6.54
15 Arkansas 6.74
16 Virginia 6.79
17 Alabama 6.87
18 Oregon 6.92
19 Tennessee 6.97
20 Minnesota 6.99
21 New Mexico 7.00
22 South Carolina 7.01
23 Georgia 7.19
24 Montana 7.19
25 North Carolina 7.45
26 Mississippi 7.48
27 Arizona 7.50
28 Ohio 7.66
29 Colorado 7.72
30 Louisiana 8.11
31 Wisconsin 8.26
32 Illinois 8.35
33 Michigan 8.48
National Average 8.72
34 Pennsylvania 8.83
35 Nevada 9.48
36 Maryland 9.82
37 Texas 10.03
38 Florida 10.05
39 District of Columbia 10.77
40 Delaware 10.84
41 New Jersey 11.64
42 Vermont 11.82
43 California 12.36
44 Alaska 12.70
45 Rhode Island 13.08
46 Maine 13.62
47 New York 14.17
48 New Hampshire 14.39
49 Massachusetts 16.31
50 Connecticut 16.67
51 Hawaii 19.05

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