Shopping for Electricity in Texas : Four Common Mistakes
Shopping for electricity in Texas? Choosing an electric plan doesn't have to be difficult if you avoid these four big, and potentially costly, mistakes.
Mistake #1: Making a quick decision
Deregulation has brought Texans choice - so much choice that it can be overwhelming! With so many options it can be easy to feel lost. While you may be tempted to make a snap decision just to get it out of the way, we recommend that you spend a bit of time comparing suppliers and contract options.
Don't stop at one or two providers - it's a good idea to start by looking at least five options before narrowing down your choices. And remember, if you get really stuck, you can always call us at 1 (346) 293-7657 for advice.
Try This Instead Think about what is most important to you before you start shopping. Are you looking for only the lowest price out there? Do you want a REP with good customer service? Are you looking for green energy? Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, it will be much easier to decide.
Mistake #2: Being afraid to switch
So you've done it all before. You checked out your options, read up on supplier reviews, and made a choice. Now your contract's term is up, and you're happy enough with your choice. If it isn't broke, why fix it - right? Well, there are at least two reasons why you shouldn't feel committed to sticking with your existing supplier "just because". First, the electricity market in Texas is always changing. Sure, at the time of signing your contract your chosen supplier may have been your best choice, but how do they compare with any new suppliers that have entered the market? Second, most retail electric providers will switch you to a variable rate once your contract is up. Variable rates are usually set at the discretion of the supplier, and are often more expensive than a fixed rate.
Try This InsteadStart looking at new supply options a few months before the end of your contract, so that you're ready to make the switch as soon as your contract finishes
Mistake #3: Not knowing how much electricity you use per month
It's important to know how much power you consume in a month so that that you get accurate price quotes for your supply. Most retailers list prices for 2,000 kWh/month usage, but per kWh rates are often different if your consumption is closer to 500 kWh or 1,000 kWh per month. What's more, many retail providers charge minimum usage fees for consuming under a certain monthly kWh threshold. As not all providers charge the same minimum usage fee, knowing how much electricity you use in a month will help you avoid paying more for using less.
Try This InsteadCheck out our power estimation tool if you don't know how much electricity you use in a month.
Mistake #4: Choosing a variable rate
We don't usually recommend variable rates for a couple of reasons. First, the price that's listed is only guaranteed for the first month, and can often rise considerably after the promotional month is over. Second, they can be highly unpredictable. Most customers report negative experiences with variable rates, because of this. If you're not sure what type of electricity contract to buy, we've got more detailed descriptions of fixed, variable, and indexed prices for power in Texas.
Try This InsteadAfraid to commit? Many Texas REPs offer short term fixed price contracts, at as little as 4 months long. This might be an option to consider if you are afraid of being "locked in" with a provider you're not sure about.