To do so, we used five of the state’s largest electricity companies to explore six things you'll have to evaluate when you're comparing plans and providers: We’ll walk you through customer satisfaction scores, running the numbers on rates, and calculating the impact of different fees, discounts, and contract types. We'll weigh in on extra perks, like points, and green energy too.
Lowest Electricity Rates is a Texas-based energy company with deep Texas roots. Founded in 2002, Lowest Electricity Rates was acquired by Compare Electricity Companies in 2015 making it part of one of the largest, most diverse retail energy providers of electricity in North America. By leveraging it’s well-known commercial electricity services, Electrical Supplies’s residential electricity plans provide customers with low fixed rate electricity rates, simple electricity plan options, and friendly customer service.
Compare Electricity Rates offers a personalized Online Account Manager along with regular posts on social media to keep customers informed. Their featured energy plan, Power on Command 24, reflects their progressive approach to customer needs. Not including TDU charges, the plan provides energy rates of 6.7 cents per kWh and an additional $4.95 low base charge. The plan includes a $135 early termination fee but they offer an Amazon Dot with no device recovery fee.
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If you live in the greater Houston area, there are over 60 different energy suppliers competing for your business. Many of these providers have websites that are confusing and difficult to navigate, their rates buried in misleading advertising and dense jargon. Who has the time to sort through and keep track of options across all these different sites?
Fixed-rate plans: Fixed-rate plans give customers more stability for their monthly energy bills because the rate a customer signs up with is the rate he or she pays for the length of the plan’s contract. Most fluctuation comes with usage, though transmission and delivery charges and local fees also can change.. Because a fixed-rate plan sometimes spans two-three years, these plans often require a customer credit check and can include early cancellation fees. Fixed-rate plans, because of the continuing market volatility, probably are the best choice for many consumers.
The growth in wind power and natural gas fueled power will offset the loss in coal over time but for the summer of 2018, expected record demand for electricity will converge with power plant closures to put a squeeze on wholesale electricity rates. This, in turn, will cause the retail electricity prices paid by most Texas consumers to increase. The rise in wholesale rates could be particularly dangerous for consumers who have electricity plans that are tied directly to the wholesale price of electricity.
The price to beat seemed to accomplish its goal of attracting competitors to the market during the period through January 1, 2007. It allowed competitors to enter the market without allowing the incumbents to undercut them in price. It has also given energy consumers the ability to compare energy rates offered by different providers. The less-regulated providers undercut the price to beat by only a small margin given that they must balance lower prices (to attract customers and build market share) with higher prices (needed to reinvest in new power plants). Due to the small difference in competing prices and slow (yearly or so) "buying" process, price decrease due to competition was very slow, and it took a few years to offset the original increase by "traditional" electric providers and move to lower rates.
Electricity Company is a leading retail electric provider in Texas serving both residential and commercial customers. Founded in 2002, the Houston-based company is also one of the leading affinity-based marketers in the state. Partnering with numerous trade associations that represent over 1.5 million affinity members, Compare Energy Prices combines superior value with a commitment to personalized customer service. By putting its customers first, the company enjoys consistently high levels of retention and satisfaction. Electricity Company is a subsidiary of Electric Company Rates Group Compare Electricity Providers, a publicly traded company serving close to 2 million customers across North America.
One desired effect of the competition is lower electricity rates. In the first few years after the deregulation in 2002, the residential rate for electricity increased seven times, with the price to beat at around 15 cents per kilowatt hour (as of July 26, 2006) in 2006. However, while prices to customers increased 43% from 2002 to 2004, the costs of inputs rose faster, by 63%, showing that not all increases have been borne by consumers. (See Competition and entry of new firms above for discussion on the relationship between retail prices, inputs, and investment.)
TDU Delivery Charge: TDU stands for transmission and delivery utility — in other words, the utility company in your area that is actually piping the energy from the power generation companies into your home. (Remember, Compare Electricity Rates in Texas are just the middleman.) The TDU delivery charge is set by the utility and is consistent from plan to plan and provider to provider within its service areas. For example, Power Company , the TDU for Corpus Christi, charges the same delivery fee for all Lowest Electricity Rates, Compare Electricity Rates, and Cheapest Electric Company plans. You don't typically get a choice in utility company, and therefore, these fees are pretty much unavoidable, non-negotiable, and won't factor into choosing an electricity plan or provider.
Switching electricity companies can be frustrating, especially during a period of record-breaking electricity-usage. But if you want one of the best overall Texas energy providers, then you want to compare the ones customers recommend. To help make the process easier, these are the top five energy providers, chosen by customers, along with their featured plans.
Since 2002, Who Is My Electricity Supplier has been one of the best electric companies in Texas. Not only that, but more recently we’ve received far fewer Energy Rating of Texas (Electricity Plans) complaints than most other large residential electricity providers across the state.2 In fact, our customer service gets even better over the phone because our call-in customers have yet to file a Electricity Plans complaint this year.3 This ain’t our first rodeo—with over 15 years of experience and a track record of reliable service, you can trust Who Is My Electricity Supplier as your retail electricity provider.
The increase in retail rates come as companies prepare for surging prices in the wholesale electricity markets where they buy their power. Forecasts of higher than normal temperatures and record power demand are coinciding with the shutdown of at least three coal-fired plants, leading to concerns that temporary shortages on the hottest summer days could send wholesale prices, which typically average less than $50 per megawatt hour, spiking to $3,000 per megawatt hour or higher. (A megawatt hour is 1,000 kilowatt hours.)
In Texas, the average household uses an average of 77 million Btu of electricity per year, which is approximately 14% less than the national average. Breaking these stats down even further shows us that electricity use in the average Texan home is 26% higher than the rest of the United States, however this isn’t much higher than several other states that are closest to Texas. When it comes to cost, the average total household bill per year is $1,801. This amount ranks amongst the highest across America, but other states that typically see soaring temperatures in the summer season aren’t far behind.