Many Texas residents now have the power to choose their natural gas and electric providers since 2002 when the Texas electricity market was deregulated and opened to competition. Instead of relying solely on their local utility for electricity, most Texans, as well as the residents of many other states such as Pennsylvania and New York now have the option to choose from a range of competing providers. This allows them to shop around to find the right electricity plan for them and their lifestyle, and the most economical rate for the power and natural gas that they purchase.
More and more Texas electricity providers have joined the market since the opening of the electricity market. They offer a variety of plans and products. Although it is great to have so many options it can make it difficult and confusing to select an electricity plan. Shopping for an electricity plan in Houston or Dallas can be overwhelming with so many options: fixed-rate, variable rate, prepaid, and various price options, terms lengths, rewards, and it can seem overwhelming.
Here are some of the things you need to consider when shopping for a Texas energy plan.
Examine your current contract.
Before switching providers, it is important to find out if you are currently under a contract with your current provider and, if so how long. This information can be found on your electricity bill, or by calling your utility provider. Your current contract may have an early termination fee if you decide to switch before the contract term expires. The Public Utility Commission of Texas states that customers can switch providers with no early termination fees if they do so within 14 days of their current plan's expiration.
To see your electricity bill, log in to your online account manager. This will show you how much electricity you use each month. You can determine the best price for your home by knowing how much you use each month. Prices and energy costs will vary depending on usage.
Bonus' and rewards
Many electricity plans offer incentives such as free electricity or refer-a-friend credits. These bonus' and rewards can lead to some great savings. Consider the benefits offered by electricity plans and decide which ones would be most beneficial to you.
Choose the length of your preferred plan
Texas electric utility providers offer many options when it comes to plan lengths. You may be able to get a lower rate if you are flexible about the term length. If you don't want to commit for a long time, shorter contracts are ideal. Longer contracts offer stability and greater price stability.
Decide your plan type.
Plans are generally either fixed-rate or variable-rate. Each type of plan has its advantages and disadvantages. The utility choice is yours to make
Fixed-Rate Plan: A fixed-rate plan locks in an electricity rate for the duration of your contract. The most popular term lengths are 6-12, 12 and 24 months. Fixed-rate plans usually charge customers an upfront termination fee if they change providers before their contract expires. However, your electricity rate will remain stable throughout the seasons. However, you might miss lower bills due to a drop in energy prices. Direct Energy's Free Weekends Plan is a great option if you want to lock in your electricity rates. It provides electricity for free on weekends, from 6 p.m. Friday through 11:59 Sunday.
Variable-rate plans: A variable-rate plan is one in which the price you pay for electricity can fluctuate according to the energy market. The market price of energy is affected by many factors such as weather, demand and fuel prices. Variable-rate plans allow you to be flexible as you don't have to sign a contract. However, high-demand seasons such as summer will result in a higher price. If you are a price-sensitive person who likes to shop around and monitor prices, a variable rate plan may be right for you.
Search the Web
TexasUtilitiesRatings.com has a great website that gives you the power to chose the best electric utility plan for your individual situation. Search that site for access to the best plans and rates from a variety of Texas utility companies.
You can compare the retail electricity providers in your region if you are interested in finding a better plan. Find a plan that is tailored to your needs.