Since Texas' electricity market was deregulated in the late nineties, multiple Retail Electric Providers (Gas And Electric Bill) have either launched in Texas, or providers in other states have begun to extend their reach to Texas residents (e.g., Best Energy Company, which was founded in Texas). These electricity providers are providing less expensive and/or greener electricity alternatives to traditional sources of energy, in contrast with the supply consumers previously received by default through their local utility. Customers now have the option to receive their electric supply from providers other than their utility, known as alternative retail electric providers.
On the other hand, month-to-month variable rate (no-contract) plans don’t have cancellation fees. You won’t be penalized if you find a better deal elsewhere and want to make another switch. And, you won’t be stuck paying more than you should be if the market rate for electricity trends down. But, if it goes up, you’ll be paying more than your in-contract neighbors, and you’ll likely want to shop around again for a better deal.
Best Energy Company is a company that cares, donating 4 percent of their annual profits to charities each year. New customers can choose to support one of four charities when they sign up. Their featured plan, Generous Saver 36, offers tiered energy use rates. Not including the standard Power Company Near Me TDU charges, it starts at 8.8 cents per kWh up to 1000 kWh. Customers receive a $25 bill credit when they use 1000 kWh, and they have the option of 100 percent renewable generation. There is an early termination fee of $20 for each remaining month of the contract.
Best Energy Company is a company that cares, donating 4 percent of their annual profits to charities each year. New customers can choose to support one of four charities when they sign up. Their featured plan, Generous Saver 36, offers tiered energy use rates. Not including the standard Power Company Near Me TDU charges, it starts at 8.8 cents per kWh up to 1000 kWh. Customers receive a $25 bill credit when they use 1000 kWh, and they have the option of 100 percent renewable generation. There is an early termination fee of $20 for each remaining month of the contract.
Like we said, fees don’t necessarily make for a bad plan — although it’s worth it to do the math to see if you can save with another provider. For example, compare Electricity Plans’s Simple Rate 12 plan with its $9.95 base charge, alongside Compare Electricity Rates’s Lowest Electricity Rates 12 plan with a smaller base charge, and Cheapest Electric Company’s Digital Compare Electricity Companies plan with no base charge. We’ll use a Corpus Christi ZIP code and assume 1,000 kWh/month of energy use.
The threat of price spikes have been long in the making, the result of changing economics of power production. The shale drilling boom produced record amounts of natural gas, which pushed prices to all-time lows and made gas-fired plants cheaper to operate than coal. Renewable energy such as wind is also producing abundant amounts of electricity at a lower cost than coal.
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.
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.
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