How to compare Texas electric providers
Over 85% of Texas has deregulated energy, so if you are moving to Texas from somewhere else in the US, you should know about energy deregulation. Even if you’re moving to a deregulated portion of Texas for the first time, you may be unfamiliar with the ins and outs of this energy system.
Under the traditional energy model, one electric company maintains the lines and poles, transmits the electricity to your home or business, bills you, and provides the customer service on your energy account. The electric supplier is determined solely based on location, so quite simply, you get who you get.
How many electric companies are in Texas?
With energy deregulation, this is split into to two electricity providers: one who handles the transmission and distribution, and another that handles the retail end. In this case, you still won’t have a choice of electric utilities (the energy companies that handle maintenance of the actual power lines), but you do have a choice of retail electricity providers. So, while you will only have one electric utility for your area, there will be a large number of Texas energy providers. In Texas, for example, there are over 300 retail energy providers throughout the state!
What is the best Texas electricity provider?
With over 300 Texas electricity companies to choose from (and even more throughout the rest of the US), how do you figure out which one to use? Do you judge by price, alone–simply picking the cheapest electricity rates? If so, do you plan on calling each company or visiting all those websites? Is your choice reliant on customer reviews? And how long will that take to shop around and compare Texas electric providers?
You might be better off just gambling on the first one you see!
The biggest problem is the question itself. Each customer has different usage patterns and different energy needs, so ultimately, there is no supplier with the “best electricity rates” in Texas. The best energy supplier in Texas is going to be the one that has a plan that charges you the least and fits your energy needs.
Lots of energy websites out there will give you what they consider to be some of the lowest electricity rates in Texas, but watch out!!! More often than not, these energy sites are just listing the specific Texas electric providers they work with. This doesn’t mean they can’t, in fact lower your bill, but another energy supplier might be even better for you. Chances are, if it’s not listed, it’s only because the site isn’t in business with that electric company.
Even if the site is truly giving an unbiased comparison, can you be sure their “best electricity supplier in Texas” will be right for you specifically?
On the other end of the spectrum are the websites that will list any energy provider without consideration for quality. The state’s “official and unbiased” website, for example, has been widely criticized because it allows any electricity supplier to post their rates, even if the offers turn out to be deceptive and riddled with fine-print.
This is where a good energy broker can be a great benefit to you. With inside knowledge of the Texas energy industry, TruEnergy has the greatest understanding of how to figure out your specific electricity usage patterns and match those with the right plan from the right energy supplier. From there, TruEnergy can negotiate a lower energy energy rate than the electric provider would even give you if you went to them directly. The greatest part of all this: you won’t ever receive a bill from us for these services. Give us a call today!
What makes a good electric company
One of the main purposes of energy deregulation is to promote competition throughout Texas. Because electricity providers are competing for your business, each one comes up with its own assortment of plans, services, and offerings. Understanding these differences will be key to making the right choice for your electric supplier.
Texas electric rule #1: Know your usage
If you’re wanting to compare Texas electricity providers yourself, the most important place to start is knowing exactly how much electricity you use. First and foremost, this is the main reason people end up shocked by their energy bill when they switch providers. If you’re shopping around with little more than a guess of how much energy you will be using, and if your electric usage turns out to be higher or lower, you could end up paying a lot more than you expected.
Occasionally this is because the electric supplier is just being deceptive. For example, they may tell you their price is calculated from the estimate that you will use 1,000 kwh per month for a residential account. What they don’t tell you is that this has to be exact. If you use even 1 kilowatt-hour more or less for the billing cycle, your bill will show something entirely different. Note: while the PUCT (Public Utilities Commission of Texas) oversees this and fields complaints, all the company has to do is list the legal jargon in fine print on their contracts.
A lot of times, though, this is simply a matter of you using substantially more or less electricity in a billing cycle as compared to the previous year. If your home is going to be vacant for a month, or if you have extra people who are now living in your home, your energy usage might not be what the provider was expecting. The same will apply if you change the hours your business is open, or add/remove equipment. Different Texas providers have plans with different rules on how much variance they allow from one year to another, and we see way too many customers who learn this the hard way.
Differences in electricity rate: what is included in plans and what is not
Perhaps the most obvious difference in plans is going to be the price. Since electric plans (and providers) differ in a number of ways, cheaper is not always going to be better. One power company might offer a lower rate but make up the difference with extra fees and line-items on your bill. Another provider might charge a little more but it’s what is considered “all inclusive.” It might be difficult to calculate which is ultimately the better deal for you.
Line-items from energy utilities
In addition to the “energy charge,” you are going to see charges for taxes (unless you’re exempt) and utility fees. However, you may or may not be charged extra for any or all of the following:
- Meter fees, base fees, “monthly fees,” or “account fees”
- Line loss
- Ancillary fees
Some of these, by Texas law, have to be included in the rates for small residential accounts. For commercial accounts, it could go either way. Again though, which is better depends on your location and specific needs.
Fixed rate vs variable rate
Another way Texas electricity rates differ is in how they are calculated. Some energy rates are guaranteed to stay the same every month, no matter what. This is called a fixed-rate plan. Other plans have an energy rate that goes up and down with the changes in the Texas and national energy markets. Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages, and your specific electric needs will determine which is better for you.
Deposits for Texas electricity companies
Providers will want some way of ensuring payment, so most of them will require some sort of credit check or deposit. If you don’t have sufficient credit and you want a no deposit electricity plan, there are options with a few alternatives, depending on the supplier:
- providing a few months’ bills that show you have been paying your current supplier on time
- having someone else co-sign using their credit
- enrolling in a prepaid plan
Customer service -a key difference between power companies
The cheapest rates aren’t worth anything if the service you get from the electricity company is horrible. Texas providers have different records with their customers, and it can often be difficult to figure out who is good and who is not just from online reviews.
This is where TruEnergy makes all the difference in the world. Regardless of which Texas electric company you select as your electric supplier, you will have a dedicated account manager who can handle all your service needs. Plus, with a home office in Dallas, TX, we’re local–we’re a Texas company that cares about Texans!
Think of the last time you had to call a company’s customer service. How long did you spend trying to navigate the automated answering system? How long did you spend on hold? How many times did you get transferred from one person to another? How many times did you get disconnected and have to start all over?
With TruEnergy, you will have the direct contact information for your account manager. All you have do is call, text, or email. No matter the problem, our team will spend the time chasing down the solution. If we can’t take care of it for you, we will put you in contact with the exact person who can, and we’ll walk through the entire process with you!