What is Deregulation?
Deregulation means that the government is no longer responsible for overseeing and regulating the supply of electricity. With the traditional “regulated” market, your local utility—Lubbock Power and Light—handles all aspects of your electric service. Where you live determines who provides your electricity. End of story.
A deregulated market means that you can now buy your electricity through a separate company. This will open Lubbock to competition, allowing multiple providers to offer electricity to customers. This shift in policy provides customers with more options and lower electricity prices.
What Are The Benefits Of Deregulation?
The main benefit of deregulation is the ability to choose the electricity provider that best suits your needs. With deregulation, there will be multiple providers to choose from, which will drive down prices and increase the quality of service.
Customers can shop around for the best rates, plans, and customer service. They can also choose from a range of electricity sources, such as renewable energy, to align with their values.
What Can You Expect?
Texas has large number or Retail Electric Providers who already supply energy to the deregulated portion of the state. When Lubbock becomes deregulated, these companies will be competing for your business, too. These suppliers will have a variety of product offerings at different per-kilowatt-hour rates. Some offer month-to-month plans, but many will offer a contract to guarantee you a set rate for the duration of the agreement.
One important thing to remember is that, regardless of which provider you choose, you will have the same electricity coming through the lines into your home or business. Lubbock Power & Light will still maintain the lines and poles. When there is an outage, they will still work to get it restored. No provider can offer you better or worse service and reliability in this. No provider is going to have “better electricity” than any other.
This doesn’t mean that all providers are the same. The most obvious difference is going to be in the rate they can offer you, but beware! This isn’t the end of the story. The providers are the ones that will be billing you for your service, so any time there is a problem with your account, they will be the ones to handle it. This creates a number of differences among these companies:
- Meter Fees & Pass-Thru Charges – Just because a company offers you a lower per-kilowatt-hour rate doesn’t mean your monthly bill will be any lower. As with so many things in life, there are trade-offs. A lower rate might come with extra monthly fees. Some plans will include certain fees while other will pass these fees on as additional line-items on your bill.
- Customer Service – How hard (or easy) is it for you to get in contact with someone at the company? Are you going to get passed around from person to person? Are you going to be on hold for an hour just to talk to someone? Are you going to have to deal with… less than pleasant attitudes?
- Company Stability – Lots of companies are going to want in on the competition. Some have been around for years and are strong and stable. Other companies are startups, and depending on their financial backing and the experience of their management team, some of those will do well, and some will fail. When a provider goes bankrupt, its customers have little choice with what happens to their contract.
- Other Options – Many providers have “extras” from renewable energy options to online tools such as billing and usage tracking.
How Do I Choose A Provider?
With all these things to consider, choosing the right electricity provider can be a daunting task. Unfortunately, many customers tend to find a provider that works well enough. If the rate is decent and there aren’t any (or many) substantial problems with the account, many people just find a provider and stick with them. Indeed, that can seem much easier than having to compare dozens and dozens of companies.
Lots of websites claim to be the one-stop-shop to help you compare companies. Unfortunately, these sites don’t really solve the problem, so much as shift it somewhere else. Are these websites all the same? (hint: they’re not! https://truenergy.com/electric-rates-in-texas/#comparison) If not, how do you figure out which ones are better or worse? Now you’re having to compare the comparison sites! Where does it end?
Out of this problem comes the electricity broker. Brokers generally rely on their relationships with multiple providers in order to find customers the lowest rate available. Essentially, the broker is a “middle-man” to link customers with providers.
We all know about the benefits of cutting out the middle-man, but this may or may not be true in this case. Brokers get their money from the providers, not the customers. Granted, some brokers charge additional fees to the customer, but most do not. Ultimately, if you get a better rate through a broker, and if you’re not paying anything extra to the broker for that service, is an easy win for you.
Why Use a Broker?—and the TruEnergy Difference!
It sounds like a gimmick, doesn’t it? You involve a third party (who also wants to get paid), and you’re going to SAVE money!?!?!? But, what if:
- A broker can get you a rate that’s lower than the provider can offer you directly, AND
- The broker isn’t going to charge you an extra fee of their own
If this is truly the case, then it’s definitely going to benefit you to consult with a broker. If you decide to do this, here are a few questions you should ask:
- “Do I pay you anything directly?” Remember that energy brokers are already paid by the provider. Clients shouldn’t have to fork over any more money. You will never receive a bill from TruEnergy for our brokerage services.
- “How many energy providers do you work with?” If it’s only a handful, they’re probably not getting you the best options. If they claim to work with “all of the providers,” they’re either exaggerating or they’re probably not too discerning about their partners. (There are well over 100!) Out of over a hundred providers, TruEnergy has chosen about 30 of the state’s best as our suppliers.
- “What fees are covered by this rate, and what will be extra on my bill?” Extra line-items aren’t necessarily bad. Sometimes it’s better to have everything built into a rate that’s a little higher, but sometimes it’s better to keep those line-items on top of a lower rate. Other brokerages might woo you with the lowest rate, but TruEnergy can help you figure out your total cost.
- “What other fees could potentially show up on my bill?” Some energy suppliers have different fees for early termination, not hitting a minimum usage, exceeding a maximum usage, paying with a credit card, etc. Not all brokers pay attention to this. TruEnergy will!
- “Who do I contact with customer service issues?” If the provider’s customer service falls short, will the broker pick up the slack? Better yet, will the brokerage handle all the customer service in the first place, making things even easier on you? With TruEnergy, you will have a dedicated account manager who can assist with any needs you have with your account.
And the cherry on top:
- “Will you give me all this in writing?” We will be happy to give you a proposal in writing!
We have helped over 10,000 customers save tens of millions of dollars on their electric bills. We strive to beat all other brokers, not just with our rates, but also with our customer service.
What Should I Do Now?
As the deregulation of the Lubbock electricity grid approaches, now is the time to start researching and comparing electricity providers and brokers. Take the time to understand your energy usage and needs so that you can find the best plan and rate for you.
Overall, deregulation offers significant benefits for Lubbock residents. It gives customers the power to choose their electricity provider, which can lead to lower prices, better service, and increased environmental responsibility. So get ready to shop around for the best deal on electricity, and take advantage of the new opportunities that deregulation brings!
Have questions? Give us a call. It’s free! (really!) We are more than happy to talk you through this process and help you understand what it means for you.