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JD Power ranks Texas’ electric providers

By: Nicholas Sakelaris |

Houston-based Champion Energy Services topped the list of residential retail electric providers for the fourth straight year, according to JD Power’s 2013 survey released Thursday.

Rounding out the top five were Green Mountain Energy, Bounce Energy, StarTex Power and Brilliant Energy.

The survey looks at a number of factors, the most important being price per kilowatt, said Chris Oberly, senior director of the energy practice for J.D. Power & Associates.

It’s critical information for consumers who have the ability to shop for the best deals for their home electricity needs.

But Texans who live in deregulated markets expect much more in 2013 than ever before.

Companies that scored well provide customers with easy access to smart meter data so they can manage their electric bill. For example, Dallas-based Ambit Energy ranked sixth on the list with its application that provides customers with real-time electricity usage.

Second-place Green Mountain Energy makes it easy for residential customers to purchase renewable energy credits, which support wind and solar energy projects.

Companies are ranked on customer service, like if they resolve customer complaints in one phone call or if it takes multiple calls.

Corporate citizenship also is important because it shows the company is active in the community.

The study is now in its sixth year and compares the customer satisfaction in deregulated and regulated markets. In regulated markets, utility customers have only one option for purchasing electricity.

Dallas-based TXU Energy, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings, came in at No. 20 on the list, well below the industry average, which looks at both deregulated and regulated markets.

Overall, deregulated utilities outscored regulated utilities in Texas by 114 points on the price factor.

Oberly said this shows that deregulation works.

“Retail electric providers must stay connected to their customers with clear, frequent and effective communications and quality customer service touch points, including billing and payment, customer service, corporate citizenship, enrollment and beyond, to achieve a premier provider position,” Oberly said.