You’ve heard the old saying that “everything’s bigger in Texas.” Well, it happens to hold true when it comes to electricity plans. For the past 20 years or so, the great state of Texas has claimed the title for having the nation’s largest deregulated energy market. A few of the major Texas cities that are part of deregulated areas include Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, but the list doesn’t stop there.
With Power To Choose Texas, it’s never been easier to understand how Texans can make energy deregulation work in their favor. In this article, we’ll provide a guide on how to use Power To Choose to find out which Texas electricity provider in your area offers the best energy plan for your unique electricity usage.
What Is Power To Choose Texas?
Power To Choose (powertochoose.org) is the official Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT, or PUC of Texas) website. It is unbiased and allows all retail electricity providers in the state of Texas to list their electricity plans. Neither the providers nor site users have to pay a fee in order to take advantage of this tool. The goal of the website is to provide Texas residents with the ability to quickly compare all energy offers available in their area on one website — making it easier to choose the best electricity plan for their individual needs.
With the free Texas Power To Choose (PTC) comparison tool, you’re able to look at multiple utility companies from one convenient site. This centralization makes the shopping process reasonably simple. Since you’re able to make side-by-side, apples-to-apples comparisons between your local utility and other retail electric providers in your area, the shopping process is streamlined.
You can even filter your search results by selecting pricing points, term length, renewable energy options, and more to help you find the plans with the best electricity rates and hone in on which of those plans meets your specific requirements.
Why Should I Choose My Own Texas Electricity Provider?
For the majority of Texas residents, choosing an energy supplier is mandatory. Consumers who reside in any of the deregulated electricity market areas who fail to select their own electricity supplier are assigned an energy provider by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which is state-operated.
But Texans shouldn’t settle for the default energy supplier. Selecting your own electricity provider and plan offers many benefits. Let’s take a look at two of the crucial reasons Texas residents should exercise their power to choose.
1) Control Your Electricity Bill
Electricity rates and energy deregulation are still hot topics following the February 2021 winter storm that occurred in Texas. Those familiar with the event are paying close attention to Texas energy costs and understand precisely how vital controlling your electricity rates can be.
You see, approximately $16 billion was added to electricity bills as electricity costs leaped to a whopping $9 per kWh for 32 hours. This extreme price hike was around 75 times the January 2021 average of 12.69 cents for the state. Yes, you read that right: 75 times as much. Stories of people being charged $10,000 (and more!) for their electricity use during this storm hit the news.
Texans who feel vulnerable to the rising costs of their energy supply might find comfort in a fixed-rate plan that is well-researched and chosen to suit your needs. Fixed-rate plans, which guarantee the same electricity rate through the duration of your contract period, will bring pricing peace of mind to those worried about another spike.
What Other Factors Influence Texas Electricity Rates?
Electricity pricing varies based on changes in supply and demand. When the supply increases, it tends to result in lower rates. When there’s a shortage, average prices tend to rise. We refer to these changes as price volatility.
Texas electricity rates are impacted by:
- Fuel prices
- State regulations
- Supply availability
- Weather conditions
- Economic conditions
- Costs for power grid operation and maintenance
- Electricity generation costs and other power plant expenses
2) Find a Green Energy Plan
There are three main types of energy to choose from. They are:
- Conventional power: This includes fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil, in addition to nuclear fission of uranium. Burning fossil fuels to produce energy is extremely hard on the environment. Ocean and air pollution as well as the destruction of ecosystems are just a few of the consequences from using fossil fuels for energy generation. Nuclear power generation also falls into the conventional power category since it requires mining, extraction, and radioactive waste storage.
- Renewable energy: This includes natural resources that quickly regenerate themselves and will never run out. Examples here are wind, water, sun, organic plant and waste material (biomass), and Earth’s heat (geothermal). Although there are some small environmental impacts when using renewable energy resources to generate energy, the impact is significantly less than with conventional power sources.
- Green power: This is a subcategory of renewable energy. It represents renewable energy resources and technologies that provide only the highest environmental benefit. We define green power as electricity that is produced by biogas, eligible biomass, geothermal, low-impact small hydroelectric sources, solar, and wind. The most intriguing benefits of green power for consumers are its carbon footprint reduction benefits and zero emissions profile.
Not all energy providers offer green energy plans. When you choose to go with one that does, you’ll be making an environmentally responsible decision.
How Do I Know If I Live in an Area With Deregulation?
Not all Texas ZIP codes offer energy choices and alternative energy plans. But in areas that do, you will find a range of big electricity providers like CenterPoint Energy, Gexa Energy, Oncor Electric Delivery, TXU Energy, and TriEagle Energy, as well as smaller energy providers too.
The first step in knowing if you have the power to choose from among these electric companies is to visit powertochoose.org and enter your ZIP code. A pop-up will let you know whether you reside in a deregulated energy area. It’s as simple as that.
If you find that you do reside in a deregulated area, the website page will indicate which energy plans are available at your location. After you have confirmed that you live in an area with energy deregulation, you’ll want to gather some other information before proceeding.
What Do I Need to Search for Texas Energy Plans on Power To Choose?
In addition to your ZIP code, be prepared with the following before searching for the best electricity plan and electricity rates for you:
- Your average monthly electricity usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This number should be on your electric bill. If you’re not sure, contact your current electricity supplier.
- Your current Texas electricity rate plan’s electricity facts label (EFL). The EFL outlines your plan’s details and should include the average price you pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Again, look at your recent monthly bill or contact your energy supplier to find this information. It’s also ideal to find your current energy plan’s total electric rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh) based on 1,000 kWh average usage.
- Have an idea of the term length you might be interested in. Would you prefer a long-term or short-term agreement? In general, one can find low rates for extended contracts. However, they do tend to come with termination fees or other financial penalties if you cancel early.
- Have an idea of what Texas electricity rate type you might like. The most common rate types are fixed-rate, variable-rate, and indexed rate.
What Else Do You Need To Know When Exercising Your Power To Choose?
As you begin to look at various plans, stop to think before making any commitments. The Power To Choose website recommends you ask yourself the following questions in order to make the best possible comparison between the various offers and electricity providers:
- What is the kWh price based on a 1,000 kWh monthly electricity usage?
- What does the plan include? Check for transmission and distribution charges, electricity costs, and any hidden or additional fees.
- What is the rate plan type? Is it an indexed offer, a fixed rate, or a variable rate? Can the rate change, and if so, when and by how much?
- If there is a contract, what is the contract length?
- Is a deposit required? If so, how much is it?
- What are the payment options — cash, online, automatic deductions?
- What happens once the contract expires?
- What if you miss a payment?
- Is there a penalty for a broken contract?
- If you’re considering a retail electric provider that offers green energy options, do they have a buy-back plan or any other financial perks for going green? If so, what are the terms?
You Have the Power To Choose, Texas
Texas energy includes several deregulated markets that bring competitive advantages to the majority of Texas households. Selecting the proper electricity supplier and finding the best rate does take some research. You’ll need to consider your finances and electricity use, but it’s worth it. The Power To Choose Texas tool is especially useful for Texans hoping to avoid the same winter storm issues that took place in February 2021. The Power To Choose website is a fantastic tool that should help you along the way.
At EnergySavings.com, we’re here to help you gain a better understanding of your energy choices. We strongly believe that deregulated energy can work for you, not against you. Understanding your energy choices will allow you to make that happen.
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