Since the Texas electricity market opened to competition in 2002, many Texas residents have had the opportunity to choose their own electricity provider. Instead of relying on their local utility to provide them with electricity, most Texans can choose from a variety of competitive providers, allowing them to shop around for the perfect electricity plan for their homes and lifestyles.
Fixed-Rate Plans: These plans are steady and predictable; the price per kWh you sign up for will remain that same for the entirety of your contract. (The only changes in your bill will be from forces outside of your Gas And Electric Bill's control, like changes in TDU fees, or changes in federal, state, or local laws.) Often fixed-rate plans will have a slightly higher price per kWh than others, but you're paying for the predictability. They're great if you live by your budget – and even greater if you happen to sign up when rates are low. The fixed-rate plans of our five Texas providers typically started at 12 months, with some extending up to three years, but we spotted a couple from Cheapest Electric Company that offered fixed rates for six month contracts as well.
Minimum Usage Fees: Often set at or around 1,000 kWh/month, these fees mean you’ll always pay for at least that amount — even if you only use, say, 800 kWh of electricity some months. It sounds nasty, but it’s only something to be concerned about if your electricity bills historically show you hover right around that minimum use threshold. If you’re electricity use always exceeds that amount, it’s like it’s not even there.
Prices are expected to go up so quickly that Compare Electricity Rates has stopped selling its "Compare Electricity Prices" plan to new customers this summer, a prepaid plan that changes rates each month depending on wholesale prices. Instead, the company is encouraging its customers to lock in for longer periods of time. Customers who used up to 2,000 kilowatts each month could get a 12-month contract for 11.7 cents per kilowatt hour in May compared to the same plan for 9.1 cents per kilowatt hour one year earlier.
When you look at the rates provided by a company - whether on a site like Electricity Prices, Compare Electricity Companies, Compare Electricity Rates, or the company's specific website - you should first determine if the rate you are seeing in an average rate based upon a certain number of kilowatt hours (kWh) used in a billing cycle or it's simply the rate, regardless of usage. It is important to view the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) for the plans you like so that you can learn if the plan is fixed-rate or variable-rate, what you are being charged for energy by the company, what surcharges you will be assessed by the utility company for your area, and what other fees the company might assess. If you're not careful, the cheap Texas electricity you think you found might cost you more than you realize.
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