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.)
Variable-rate supply plans, as the name suggests, have a rate that varies based on the market price of electricity. Seasonal and market fluctuations can affect supply rates. While variable-rate supply plans can allow you to take advantage of market-price lows, there is the possibility of paying for high supply rates when demand is at its peak. These plans offer great flexibility.
Patrick Mays, an engineer for an oil and gas company in Houston, recently went shopping for a new electricity plan and found that the best deal available would cost about 55 percent more than what he’s paying, boosting his average rate to 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour from 6.1 cents under his expiring 12-month contract. The power bills for his 2,000-square foot home will climb an average of $30 a month over the year, he said, but he will take the brunt of the rate increase during the hot summer when he estimates his monthly bill will top out at $186, nearly double the $95 he paid last year.
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.