As they’re advertised, the Digital Compare Electricity Companies plan appears to save you $4 — but only if you use 32 percent of your energy on the weekends, which is the stat Cheapest Electric Company used to create the average price it advertises. Say you often travel for business during the week, and are only home cranking the air conditioner on weekends. If your energy use skews to 55 percent weekend use (for Compare Electricity Companies that means 8 pm on Friday through 12 am Monday), suddenly Cheap Energy becomes a much better deal.
For example, shoppers for Texas electricity plans in the 77494 ZIP code in Katy, TX, could find 12-month plans for 6.8 cents/kWh in February; by June, electricity rates had increased 27 percent to 9.3 cents/kWh. As of early September, 12-month plans were up again, to 9.9 cents/kWh – a 6.5 percent hike from June and a 46 percent increase just since February.
As a result, power companies have shut down Texas coal plants unable to compete with lower-cost generators. Meanwhile, the low electricity prices of recent years — a function of cheap natural gas — and small profits have discouraged companies from investing in new power plants. ERCOT, which oversees about 90 percent of the state’s power grid, said power reserves that are called on when demand peaks on the hottest summer days have shrunk to the lowest levels since Texas deregulated power markets in 2002.
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.
Thus, it's important to know what you're looking at when you're researching cheap Texas electricity, since companies find different ways to convey their rates, practices, and services in the best possible light. The important points to consider when you determine the energy provider that best meets your needs includes: the rate, the billing practices, available promotions, and points of access to customer service.
Energy users who choose a Garland, Texas, electricity plan from one of many retail electric providers will still receive service from a utility company - better known as a transmission and distribution service provider (TDSP). Keep in mind that you can't choose what utility delivers electricity supply to your location. Garland residents and business owners are located in Energy Prices's utility service area. This TDSP serves about 10 million energy consumers across Texas and monitors almost 120,000 miles of power lines.
Utility companies are responsible for transmission and delivery of electricity even in energy deregulated parts of Texas and should be contacted in the event of a power outage. Your retail energy supplier may provide you competitive electric rates or exceptional customer service, but they cannot repair power lines or restore your service. In the case of an emergency, contact: