Reliant Energy’s Parent Company NRG Energy Gobbles up another Provider, Energy Plus

I found out today that Reliant Energy’s parent company NRG Energy now owns Energy Plus. A year or two ago Reliant’s parent company NRG Energy bought Green Mountain Energy and now with Energy Plus NRG Energy has gobbled up a couple of the top marketers in the retail electric provider space.

I believe Green Mountain Energy has done the best job of differentiating themselves from their competition which makes their purchase by Reliant Energy’s parent company NRG Energy a smart one. Energy Plus marketed their service through places like the government student loan rewards program Upromise and through Best Buy in several deregulated states including Texas.

I remember reading that Energy Plus was one of the fastest growing retail electric providers in the country and it likely has to do with how aggressively they worked out partner joint ventures with companies like Best Buy. I personally have received at least 3 different mail outs coming from Best Buy to switch to Energy Plus.

Here you have an old school company like NRG Energy buying up good talent in two separate buy out deals in which both companies have shown exceptional skill at leveraging the power of joint venture partnerships and brand differentiation.

When it comes to price Energy Plus has continuously been scolded online by their past customers for advertising that they are “competitive” and yet the customers standard complaint is that they pay more with Energy Plus than they did with the company they were with previously.

Through further research we have found that the reason for these complaints has simply to do with the type of plan many people switch to when choosing this company. The popular plan they advertise is a variable rate plan and so there is no guarantee how long the price will remain competitive and so it is easy to see why people turn on this new provider when their electric bill goes way up.

We are interested to see if NRG Energy (the parent company of Reliant Energy) changes the marketing tactic currently being used by Energy Plus or leaves things basically the same.

Energy Plus Holdings LLC became owned by NRG Energy on September 30 2011 and it is reported that they will not have any technical or managerial qualification changes but will have the ERCOT financial requirements handled by NRG Energy.

Clearview Electric in Danger of Retail Electric Provider Certificate Being Revoked

The Public Utility Commission of Texas has stated in their latest filing that they believe the requirements of a retail electric provider certificate holder are well known and should have been known by Clearview Electric. The commission does not believe a waiver should be given to Clearview Electric in order to allow them to comply with the requirements of being an REP in Texas unless specific circumstances warrant it.

The PUCT has asked that Clearview give them at least 90 days notice prior to the expiration of their suspension period on whether they plan to come into compliance with the PUCT rule P.U.C. Subst R.25.107 by the compliance deadline. So what is this rule all about and how does it relate to the Texas electricity consumer? Below is a summary of the rule that the PUCT is trying to get Clearview Electric to be in compliance with.

The amendment to §25.107 (1) provides requirements for a change in control of a REP, (2) strengthens the reporting and certification requirements related to managerial resources and ability, (3) limits the number of business names (dbas) a REP may operate under, (4) provides requirements for certification as a distributed generation REP serving large commercial customers, (5) allows the commission to draw on a letter of credit upon the revocation of a REP certificate, (6) defines erroneous switch-holds related to deferred payments plans as a significant violation of the commission’s rules, and (7) makes other clarifying changes.

As you can see the rule seems to be related to making it transparent who owns an electric company as well as limiting the amount of names one REP can hold. I would imagine these rules are in place so that an electric provider cannot hide behind many names for the sole purpose of gaming the system and advertising and promoting to customers in a way that could be seen as unethical and bad for the retail electric markets. We are not saying that Clearview Electric has done any of these things as it appears their violation has more to do with the letter of credit rule. The PUCT may not believe this provider will do anything bad but by enforcing these rules they protect the electric consumer from the possibility of something bad happening.

Currently this company is suspended from selling electric service in Texas. I went on their website and they no longer have Texas listed as one of the states they sell electric service in. From what I can find online they only have about 30 electric service customers in Texas. The PUCT wants a $30,000 letter of credit from them to protect the investment in energy of these current customers but will eventually need a $500,000 letter of credit for them to fully comply. Some of the things the PUCT would like Clearview to agree with in writing to avoid revocation of their REP certificate in Texas are listed below:

  • They must agree to revocation if they fail to comply with rule P.U.C. Subst R.25.107 by the deadline date.
  • Must agree to revocation if they significantly violate any additional rules of P.U.C. Subst R.25.107 before the deadline date of compliance.
  • Clearview must agree that its $30,000 standby letter of credit cannot be withdrawn until they file a $500,000 letter of credit to comply with P.U.C. Subst R.25.107(f)(4)(F)
  • Clearview must agree that once revoked or through Clearviews voluntary ceasing of service to Texas customers it must pay their $30,000 letter of credit to the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
  • They must agree to not add any new Texas customers until the conditions of P.U.C. Subst R.25.107 are met.
  • Clearview must agree to give 90 days advanced notice advance of the June 30 2012 deadline if they will be ceasing operations in Texas or providing the letter of credit.

The PUCT believes that if Clearview Electric cannot agree to these requests that the commission should consider revoking the REP’s certificate.

I looked at the information the PUCT had on Clearview Electric and they do not list any DBA’s this company uses or any bizarre change of ownership information. My opinion is that this electric company may have just not had the required $500,000 letter of credit the PUCT requires for them to operate as a retail electric provider in Texas.

If this is the case it makes sense for the PUCT to be heavy handed in this regard because many electric providers have gone out of business and did not have the money to cover the investment in the energy they purchased when the market moved against them.

The $500,000 letter of credit helps protect customers, investors, and the tax payers from a provider buying energy and then never paying the ERCOT electric grid back for that purchased power.

 

Constellation Energy buys Startex Power in Texas

Constellation buys Startex Power 142 million

Startex Power has been one of those success stories in Texas because of their fast growth as a privately held retail electric company competing against giants like TXU Energy and Reliant Energy.

Now Startex Power is one of these giants as they were bought for 142.5 million in cash and will now be a very big strong brand for Constellation in the state of Texas.

Startex started out from an executive that came over from Gexa Energy by the name of Marcy Zlotnik to start her own retail electric provider.

She did very well as CEO and eventually reinquished her position to her husband Robert Zlotnik. These two were finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award for 2008 in the Houston and Gulf Coast area.

The buyout amount will let Constellation continue where Startex left off and continue to build a very well respected brand in the state of Texas.

No information was given as to whether Startex Power was experiencing any negative things that were hurting their overall business to require a larger company to buy them out as was the case with Amigo Energy and Starlight Power.

Texas Electric: What Happens If You Don’t Choose a Provider?

 

With all the talk about choosing your electricity provider, many still haven’t done it. “So,” you may be wondering, “what happens if you don’t exercise your right to choose your Texas electricity company?” Following is some insight.

When you elect not to choose your electric provider, your service will be supplied by what’s called an Affiliate Retail Electric Provider. Who/what is this?

An Affiliate Retail Electric Provider is an entity associated with the original Retail Electric Provider (REP) that services your area.

If you don’t know which company this is, you can find out by logging on to sites like ElectricityBid.com. You can speak with a representative there, or plug in some info like your zip code to find out which Texas electric companies service your area.

What You Give Up by Not Choosing Your Texas Energy Company

The most important thing you give up is energy savings. Why/how?

Conventional Texas electricity companies offer so many money-saving plans for all types of consumers. For example, if your credit has gotten a little dinged up in the last few years – and many have seen this happen with the raging foreclosure crisis and steep job losses — you may think that the only plan you can get is an expensive one like a prepaid electric service account.

This is far from the truth.

With no-deposit and low-deposit electric plans like the Texas LITE-UP Program, energy savings have never been easier to get.

FYI, the Texas LITE-UP Program gives discounts to customers from May through September on their electric bill.

So “choose to choose” your Texas electric provider. Sites like ElectricityBid.com make it so easy. Literally, with a few clicks of the mouse, you can be on your way to reducing your monthly electric bill.

Compare Electricity Rates in Texas – Click here

Bounce Energy

Type in your zip code to the right and compare Bounce Energy with multiple Texas electric companies in your area. All fees and charges are bundled into the electric rates to give you a clear apples to apples comparison.


Check Low and No Deposit Electricity Plans and Rates

Software Director at Whitefence starts a New Electric Company

A new Texas electric provider that has been appearing in advertising on google’s ad network as well as on the power to choose website is a company by the name of Bounce Energy. This electric provider is located at 2802 Albany in Houston Texas. They started business in Texas May 2008. Robbie Wright is the Director of Bounce Energy and was previously the Senior Vice President of customer experience at WhiteFence. From his work background he appears to have been involved in their software side of the business in large part considering their business model is based almost completely on online sign ups for essential utility services. Robbie still acts as a consultant for WhiteFence which is a company that works with several electric companies in controlling their electric service sign ups on the internet.

New Electric Provider in Texas

After having a succesfull run at Whitefence Robbie has ventured into starting a bonafied retail electric provider in Texas and with a history in the software mechanisms that organize and keep track of electric service customers this may be the right fit for him in this competitive market. Since Bounce Energy is less then a year old we do not have very much information available as far as their ability to provide accurate timely billing and historically low fixed electric rates. We wish Bounce Energy well in their new business venture in the retail electric market and are interested to see how they compare to other Texas electric rates.

You can compare electricity rates from Bounce Energy with several other Texas electricity companies competing for your residential electric service business.

Would you like to learn about other Energy providers?
Spark Energy
Champion Energy
Ambit Energy
Startex Power
Affordable Energy

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