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

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

Champion Electric

Champion Energy

Cheapest recommended residential Texas electric company rates are listed in the compare tool to the right. To compare Champion Energy with other electricity providers in TX please type in your zip code to the right and click on “Compare”. If you do not live in either Dallas or Houston you may still click on the button and enter your zip code to check rates in your area.

Champion Energy offers only one term for their residential electric plan, we currently recommend Startex Power over Champion Energy at this time. They have the cheapest electric rate and there is no monthly service fee. As of February 2009 their electric rate is 11.3 cents kWh with no monthly service fee and this is for 12 or 6 months fixed(as of Feb 23 2009). I have yet to see a better offer then this.

Since these electric rates have been published electric rates could come up across the board among all providers if the energy market makes a move up. Feb 2009 represents a fresh low in energy prices.

If you would like to see the cheapest electric providers rates and terms of service in comparison to Champion Energy’s current electric rates you may click on the yellow gold boxes above. Enter your zip code and all available terms with Startex Power will come up at their lowest available prices. This is their promotional electric rate and you can sign up on this promotional offer using the promo box above. The promo code is built into the link so their will be no need to enter it as it will be filled in for you.

Since we wrote about this offer in February the Texas electric market could have gone up or down since then. Because of this the discount rate now could be higher or lower from what was offered in February 2009. Once you lock in to the electric rate it is fixed but Texas electric rates change quite frequently with the commodities market so it is important to lock in at the right time.

Texas Residential Electricity Explained

Residential electric companies competing in Texas have begun to offer several different electric rate products that are a mix match of both fixed terms and variable rates. What first looks to be like a great offer can come back to sting you later. The latest issue I have seen is with Texas Retail Electric Providers requesting that you sign a 12 month contract to be on their variable rate. The issue we have with this is that these energy companies are working with a base energy rate that they do little in the form of hedging.

This means if the rate skyrockets they pass that issue on to you and you end up paying a really high bill one month when the variable market goes through the roof. To request that the customer sign a contract to a rate they have no guarantee on is a bit insulting to me. Most electric companies out there however will have you sign a 6, 12 month or longer contract for a fixed electric rate.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as they have bought and hedged this energy at this term in order for you to buy it and insure that you pay that same rate the rest of the year. There is an actual service being performed here and a reason you need to sign a contract. If you were to break the contract early if perhaps energy rates went down and then signed up with a different electric company your previous electric company would be out of pocket for the difference in the rate they sold you and where the market is at now. Since they bought this electricity back when the market was higher they now have to sell it back at a lower price then they paid for it.

They end up losing money on you leaving and going somewhere else. The variable market rate however is not hedged and is basically just an index price. The retail electric provider adds their adder onto the index price and that is their margin. They don’t hedge the energy but allow it to go up and down and sell it as a market rate with you carrying the risk. There is no reason to sign a contract on this type of rate as the risk is past on to the customer.

Learn more about Texas Electricity

Spark Electric

Check rates with multiple Texas electricity companies in the zip code electricity comparison box to the left. You can compare what Spark Energy is offering you with several other electric providers.

You may call with questions to: 1-800-971-4020

Jan 22 2008

Spark Energy is currently advertising several different electric rates at a mid price range in comparison to some of the other competitive Texas electric providers. They currently have a 12 month rate at 11.9 cents kWh with no monthly service charge. This is an ok electric rate although Startex Power has lowered their 12 month term rates below Spark Energy’s prices. Startex Power has a slightly better 12 month rate for 11.7 cents kWh with no monthly service charge. To compare current updated rates from providers in your area please use the chart at the top right.

 

Champion Energy In Comparison To Startex

Startex has the best overall electric rate at 11.3 cents kWh in the Dallas area with no monthly service fee. As of Feb 23 2009 Startex Power offers the cheapest available electric rate in Dallas and Houston. Champion Energy used to be the best electric rate among the low cost electric providers offering promotional discount offers but as of February 2009 Startex Power is offering the best rate. Champion’s promotional electric rate offer has expired although you can sign up with competing suppliers with Startex Power by comparing rates using our tool on the top right of this page. The promo code with Startex is no longer available and since then other providers have come in to compete with this company. We no longer offer Startex on our website to compare with other providers.

Be sure to write down on your calendar 12 months from now to come back to this site to renew with the next lowest cost provider in Texas. We update the site frequently and try and always have the best electric rate going so you don’t miss out on an opportunity to stay with a low cost electric rate.

Those With No Credit History Or Bad Credit

If you are worried the electric company may try and ask for a deposit we have some suggestions on getting by with the cheapest deposit requirement. We have seen that Bounce Energy generally has the cheapest deposit requirement if you have been hit with this request before. We have a compare tool that shows you multiple prepaid companies to compare rates from and sign up with out the worry of a deposit or credit check. The tool is at the top right of this page. As an example of a provider that usually needs a deposit based on credit score, most traditional electric companies that check credit usually ask for $200 – $400 deposit if they don’t like your credit. Other electric providers want even more if you do not meet their credit standards. You may see this as a lot but TXU and Reliant mant times ask for a lot more than what Champion requires. Spark Energy used to waive the deposit amount if you sign up for auto bill pay by credit card or bank account but they have ended this practice. If Spark needs a deposit it may be for around $400 – $500 depending on what they think of your credit history. Startex Power is somewhere in the middle as far as what they come back asking for in regards to a deposit. The best thing you could do is try one of the many prepaid providers we show in our compare tool and sign up and keep that deposit money for groceries. At one time you had to try several providers and pick the lowest deposit you could handle and build up that year of utility bills paid in full before you could get away with not needing to pay an electric company a deposit. Bounce allows you a second chance if you have little or no credit.

Ambit Energy MLM Opportunity

The Ambit Energy MLM opportunity has begun to propagate throughout the state of Texas just like Excel Telecommunications, Ignite\Stream Energy, Herbalife, and the many other popular get rich quick type of businesses. I don’t have a problem getting rich quick and many of these companies reps will tell you it isn’t exactly a get rich quick type of opportunity. For the electricity customer they will usually find themselves being in a situation where a family member or friend approaches them asking for them to sign up with this new electric service. If you look at the energy rate you will see that it isn’t the cheapest electric rate around usually. If you were to go out to powertochoose today (this is the state electricity website) and look at comparable electric rates you will find many others offering better terms and electric rates

What! More Then A Penny Off The Lowest Going Electric Rate!

I went out to the powertochoose website and pulled up Ambit Energy’s facts label. This is a reliable piece of information when comparing energy prices. The 12 month electric rate is anywhere from 12.49 cents kwh to 14.49 cents kwh depending on the amount of energy you use. This is a very horrible electric rate and the problem I have on top of that is they expect people to have their family and friends sign up on a much higher electric rate then what is currently available. As an example you could sign up with Startex Power for the same term and pay no monthly service charge and have a 12 month electric rate at 11.3 cents kwh. The rates for both Ambit Energy and Startex Power would be a fraction higher in Houston due to the congestion in this zone but would still reflect the same percentage in cost savings difference.

Electricity Facts
Ambit Certified Green 1-Year Term
Ambit Energy, L.P., Residential Electric Service
Effective October 22, 2007

Electricity
Price by TDSP

Average Monthly Usage:
Average Price per kWh:
500kWh
$0.1449
1000kWh
$0.1249
1500kWh
$0.1249
All additional kWh $0.1249

Contract Options

Options:
Early Termination Fee:
12 Months $199.00
See Terms of Service for a full listing of fees, deposit policy and other terms.

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

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