Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Fixed or Variable? Finding the Best Houston Electricity Rates

            Do you know how to find the best Houston electricity rates? Do you know what benefits each plan offers from a particular provider? Have you looked at several providers and compared the plans and rates? Knowing what kind of electricity plan to look for is integral to getting a low Houston electricity rate. Fixed rate and variable rate plans work very differently and while one may look more attractive on the surface, it could end up costing you more.

            Fixed Rate Plan
            Depending on the time of year, these plans could have a higher rate than you’d hope. During the summer and winter, energy rates tend to be higher due to increased electricity and energy usage for AC and heat, respectively. It’s ideal to get the best rates during the spring or fall when rates are lower, but you can still save with these plans.

            Locking in your fixed rate means that your rate won’t change for the duration of your contract. The contract terms generally last between three months and three years, depending on the provider and plan. Throughout this time, with the exception of TDSP changes and new regulations, your rate will not change. No matter how much the market fluctuates, including as a result of severe storms, you keep paying the same rate. It’s a safeguard for the future of your energy use.

            Variable Rate Plan
            This plan might look more attractive on the surface compared to a fixed rate plan. They might be a bit cheaper at the time you sign up, but the rate will change every month. The good thing is you can switch plans at any time while in a variable rate plan, as they have no contract. If you’re in the last month or so of summer and want to get the good fall rates, a variable plan can be beneficial to get you through those last few weeks before the rates drop without locking you out of good rates due to a contract.

            Check the EFL
            Fixed rate plans lock in your rate, so you pay the same rate throughout your contract. Since there is a contract, there is almost always an early termination fee if you decide to switch before your contract expires. Other fees such as meter reading and base charge are applicable to any plan you get. The electricity facts label (EFL) for a plan will tell you what fees and other charges are applicable to your plan and how they are implemented. The overall rate you see for a plan will usually take into account the charges like meter reading and base charge, breaking it down so you see overall how much you’re paying for electricity per kilowatt hour.

            Read your EFL carefully to ensure there are no surprises. Some plans may show a low rate, but in the EFL that low rate only applies to a specific range of electricity use. Anything outside that range could be notably higher. Once you find a few plans you like and compare their EFLs and rates, you’ll be able to pick the one that gives you the best Houston electricity rate for your home.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Custom Green Business Electricity Rates in Texas

            When you shop for low business electricity rates in Texas, you’ll find that every company will have different options for you. Prices will vary between retail energy providers, and the details of the plans will vary based on your energy usage history. However, when searching for Texas business electricity rates through a marketplace like Shop Texas Electricity, you can customize your search to include things like renewable electricity to better fit your business needs.

            Custom Quotes
            Business electricity rates are usually given on a usage based scale. Every energy rate is custom tailored to one specific business. Even similar businesses can have vastly different energy usage based on their size, specific needs, and how efficiently they are run. By quoting a custom rate for each business, you can get the best possible deal to accommodate the energy you need. Additionally, you can search for plans that meet specific criteria, like term length or green energy.

            Renewable energy is fast becoming a viable option in Texas and the rest of the country. Wind power alone in Texas is a huge contributor to the renewable energy mix. The cost for green energy is coming down pretty regularly, and businesses that want to reduce their environmental impact would do well to take advantage of the dropping prices. Even if you don’t want to commit to a long contract for green energy, searching by contract length combined with renewable energy will let you stay in the game for competitive business electricity rates in Texas.

            Reducing Waste
            To better improve your energy use and reduce business expenditures, you can make your business more energy efficient. Low business electricity rates and high energy efficiency will really lower your energy bills. Startups can take advantage of low energy consumption devices like Energy Star certified computers, printers, and monitors. Existing businesses can upgrade equipment to more energy efficient models, and both can use energy more wisely.

            Shutting off unused lights in restrooms, conference rooms, and unoccupied offices can save a fair amount of energy. Switching to energy efficient bulbs like CFLs and LEDs will further reduce costs and using low-wattage task lighting will reduce it further still. Occupancy sensors in conference and restrooms will ensure that no lights get left on inadvertently, as they will automatically shut off after a period of inactivity.

            Greening up your business with low cost business electricity rates and reducing waste will lower your business’ energy expenses and cut carbon waste. When you find a great low rate, lock it in for as long as you can to capitalize on the savings and keep your operating expenses for your business as low as possible.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Your Rights as a Customer and the Power to Choose

            Do you know your rights as a customer for your power to choose an electricity plan? Consumers of electricity have special rights regarding their ability to receive and use electricity and it will help protect them from fraudulent transactions and scams. The Your Rights as a Customer (YRAC) document was created by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) to address what can and cannot be in the terms and conditions provided by a retail energy provider (REP). The entire document can be found under Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 25, Subchapter R, Subsection 25.475.

            No Grey Areas
            Everything contained within the electricity facts label (EFL), terms and conditions, marketing material, communications, and YRAC must be clearly stated and defined. There cannot be any information which could be misconstrued, fraudulent, or unfair on behalf of the customer. A startup REP cannot claim that they provided service prior to a time when they became a certified REP. REPs also cannot claim that their electricity service will outperform service from any other company. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) ensures that all energy transmissions are treated equally, fairly, and reliably.

            Consumer History Cannot Impact Price
            Retail energy providers are not allowed to adjust the rates of your electricity based on your credit or payment history. Regardless of what kind of plan you have, including prepaid, fixed, and variable plans, your rate cannot be changed unless the terms of the plan allow for it based on market conditions. Your payment arrangements cannot affect it, but with prepaid and variable plans, the rate can change based on market conditions. Fixed rate plans won’t change at all, unless there is a change in delivery charges or new regulations cause an increase in prices.

            Written Notice and Information Rules
            Written notice of contract expiration must be presented to the consumer within 30 to 60 days of the expiration for residential customers and within 14 to 60 days for commercial customers. Changes to the terms and conditions of a current plan must be brought to the consumer’s attention at least 14 days before the change occurs.

            In order to search for electricity plans, customers are not required to provide anything more than a zip code. The EFL of every plan will give precise details on how plans operate, and will explain the finer details about the energy rate, how it’s derived, and what can possible change, if at all. You, the consumer, have the power to choose your energy plan, and all the information to make an informed decision is available for every consumer. No REP can legally swindle you into a plan, so knowing your rights as a consumer will ensure you are protected.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Have all the power of choosing the best plans in Dallas Electricity now at your fingertips

Dallas electricity customers have something to celebrate. Just what might that be? Low electricity rates, of course! Before deregulation opened up the energy market to competition, Dallas electricity consumers could only purchase electricity from a utility that serviced their area, and that meant there was no choice in the matter of what kind of plan you got. Now, you have several energy providers to choose from and different plans give you options to customize your electricity.

            Do you need electricity service for a short period of time? Do you want to lock in a low rate for a year or more? Want to take advantage of green energy? These are all options that you can now pick from when it comes to your electricity in Dallas. Where the utility would only push for a singular plan, you now have access to several options based on what your home or business requires.

            Short term plans like variable and prepaid offer a no contract monthly term that allows you to switch to a new provider or plan at any time. The benefits of these plans include not having a penalty for early termination and getting yourself into position to take advantage of a better rate. Fixed rate plans lock in your rate for a certain length of time, known as a contract term. The term could be anywhere between three months and three years, depending on your provider’s options. These plans are best when the going rate is low, often just before summer or winter starts.

            Once you lock in a rate with a fixed rate plan, your Dallas electricity rate will not change if the market takes any sudden turns. You are protected from the volatile market conditions for as long as your term states. Once it comes time to renew again, you can take advantage of new low rates, possibly with another provider if you wish.

            At Shop Texas Electricity, we give you the ability to see all of these different plans in one place, rather than having to visit every website of every provider that operates in the Dallas Fort Worth area. There are incumbent or affiliate retail energy providers, like TXU that function as the utility’s primary REP, but there are also a number of established and startup companies that sell electricity as well.

            All electricity is the same, no matter who sells it to you, whether it’s from a well known company like TXU or a small startup business. The difference is, smaller companies may be able to offer electricity plans at a much lower rate, due to less overhead operational costs. They offer straight up electricity plans with fixed rate terms and no gimmicks, and just like the big players, every plan comes with an EFL that tells you everything about the plan and how the price is derived. Every plan also comes with the same electricity reliability, thanks to ERCOT and their oversight of the deregulated energy market.

            There is no reason not to shop for the best electricity rates in Dallas, so why not stop by our site, enter your zip code, and browse the hundreds of possible plans that can provide power for your home. If you own a business, we’ll get a custom tailored energy quote for you based on your business’ energy use, so you get the best possible rates. We’ll do the hard work for you, so all that’s left is to pick the plan that’s best for you.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Narrow Your Search for Houston Electricity

Houston, Texas is home to the Energy Corridor, a stretch of Interstate 10 that houses several well known energy companies. These companies, along with many others work hard to maintain the best deals and cheapest electricity in the city for consumers. They are dealing with changing market conditions, generation facilities, and distribution every day, all looking to make their clients happy. How do you choose the best out of these companies and find electricity that meets your needs?

The simple answer to that question is shopping around. Since there are dozens of energy providers all over the state, and each has several energy plans, there is a multitude of options to choose from. How does Houston find the best deal of electricity? You could spend a lot of time searching all over the internet, finding each retail energy provider that operates in your area, or you could save a lot of time and search through Shop Texas Electricity, instead.

We don’t sell electricity, so we’re not trying to get you to buy it from us. Rather, we help you speed up your search by bringing the electricity providers to you. Our comprehensive list of energy plans and providers lets you make apples to apples comparisons of electricity plans for your home. We list all of the major points in the quick view, including provider and plan name, average rate, contract term length, special offers, and even a handy annual savings calculator.

The list lets you quickly look at several plans at once without having to switch between multiple tabs and try to remember which plan offered what. Even better, we let you sort through plans using filters that group listings by provider, product name, term length, and price. This way, you can find plans based on your preferences. Plans that have special offers like rebates, credits, and other special promotions will have such items listed on the quick view as well. If you come across a plan that has a good price, and you like what they offer, you can look in greater detail by clicking the EFL link.

The EFL, or electricity facts label, is the “fine print” of any plan. All plans are required to have them and it shows how the average price is broken down, factoring in things like monthly base charges, meter reading fees, transmission charges, and other items. They will also tell you of any difference in rates for certain ranges of energy use. Sometimes an energy provider will offer a low average rate for electricity usage in a certain range, like 501 to 1000 kilowatt hours of electricity. Below or above that range, the price could be significantly higher. This is why it’s important to check the EFL for any plan you may wish to sign up for. The EFL will also list all possible charges and penalties associated with the product.

Once you’ve found a provider and plan for your Houston electricity service, all you need to do is click the “Order Now” button or call the phone number listed and you’ll be brought right to that company’s website and be able to sign up for the plan you chose. By helping you narrow down your search with an easy to read, sortable list, Shop Texas Electricity takes the hassle out of finding a good electricity plan for you home.

The Power to Choose Your Energy Reaches far Beyond Cost

Deregulation in the state of Texas has brought with it a unique opportunity for consumers. Prior to 2002, energy consumers in Texas could only get electricity from one place: their local utility. While it may seem convenient to just have a single place to buy electricity from, it goes against the free market which our country has worked hard to preserve. In a free market, the people have choices and can buy all sorts of products, including energy from different places for competitive prices.

Post deregulation, the markets were opened up to retail energy providers, or REPs, that would purchase shares of electricity from generation facilities, then sell the electricity to consumers, both residential and commercial. The utility still plays a role, but it is to transmit electricity and maintain the transmission lines. No longer do they sell the electricity to consumers directly.

The REPs have populated the state at a quickly and steadily growing rate, seeming to pop up everywhere in recent years. The function of each REP remains constant: buy shares from the generation facility, sell it to consumers in packages or products. The product --- that is, an electricity plan --- can vary quite a bit among REPs, however. REPs may offer just a few plans, or they may offer a dozen. It all depends on the type of electricity they have access to, what their share costs are, and how the market changes.

There are three major components to electricity plans: price, contract length, and energy type. The contract length determines how long the rate stays constant for the consumer. A variable or prepaid plan is a month to month plan with no contract. You can switch at any time from these plans without incurring a penalty, but while continuing it, you are at the whim of the energy market. Any deviation in market conditions will affect your rate, causing it to rise or fall, with no guarantee of how it will affect you before your next bill.

Plans that have a contract last between three months and three years, depending on your provider. When you choose one of these fixed rate plans, your rate will not change, no matter how much the energy market is impacted. If you can lock in a very low rate with a long contract, you’ll be set for a good long while as month to month plans and new contracts continue to rise. The only things that could potentially affect your rate would be new legislation or changes in distribution methods and costs.

When it comes to energy type, all electricity is the same. So how is it different? The difference comes from the source. Renewable energy comes from green sources like wind or solar. Nonrenewable energy comes from sources like coal or natural gas. The electricity works the same coming from each, but renewable energy will be more plentiful and won’t deplete like nonrenewable will. It is also much cleaner and better for the environment. Beyond that, since all electricity is the same, no matter where it’s sourced from or who sells it to you, there’s no reason not to look for a cheaper plan.

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) ensures that all energy is treated equally and fairly. Utilities cannot charge you extra because you no longer purchase electricity from them, nor can they affect how reliable your service is. Don’t be fooled by any company who charges a high rate with the promise of more reliable service.

How to Get a Good Residential Electricity Plan

Residential electricity has gone through a major change in the past couple decades. That change is known as deregulation. Deregulation opened up the energy market to competing businesses that offer different energy plans to consumers. How does this affect you? It gives you choices. Residential electricity is now an open market, where you can compare and shop for the best prices on the energy your home needs.

All electricity is the same, so why should it matter who sells it to you? The biggest differences between plans are not the quality of the electricity itself, but rather the details of a specific plan, the generation of the electricity, and the distribution of it. Residential energy plans vary in their contract length, price, and features, but the core of it, the electricity itself, always remains the same.

How does this help you? It allows you to pick and choose what goes into your plan. Think of it like buying groceries. You can buy a steak from two different processing plants, but the amount of packaging, the distance the meat has to travel, and the cut of meat all affect its price. At its core, it’s still steak. But is it redeye, flank, or prime rib? With energy plans, some offer more features than others, and this can affect their price. Two plans may both have a three month contract term, but one offers a $25 credit on your first bill and the other doesn’t. The one offering the credit is charging a few tenths of a cent more per kilowatt hour than the plan which offers no bonus.

This kind of bundling of plans is pretty common throughout the energy market, but don’t let it discourage you from exploring your options. With Shop Texas Electricity, we provide you with easy access to the energy plans in your area, including highlights of the plans, as well as the electricity facts label (EFL) for each and every plan. Knowing exactly how a plan works and how the average price is derived will help you understand how best to utilize the energy plan.

Some plans offer a very low rate, but only if you use a certain amount of electricity, such as 500 to 1000 kilowatt hours. Anything above or below that range could drastically change the actual rate you would pay, by as much as a few cents per kilowatt hour. Other parts of your bill could be affected as well, such as the base charge for service. Some companies waive this charge if you use a certain amount of electricity or more.

Electricity plans offering special incentives like bill credits, “free” thermostats, or other offers usually build these into the cost of the plan. While it can be tempting to go for such a plan, thinking you’re getting a good deal like an expensive Nest Learning Thermostat, you have to consider that you might actually pay a lot more than the incentive is worth over the course of your contract term.

By comparing the rates of such plans to those that offer straight electricity at a low rate, you could come to find out that you’d save a lot more with a basic plan. After all, all electricity is the same, both in terms of use and reliability, so why pay more for it than you need to? Shop and compare residential electricity plans with us today and see how much you can save!