Last week the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas imposed a total of $3.7 million in penalties on two retail electric providers related to their default in 2008, which left thousands of customers "stranded" and forced to pay a very high energy price.  The penalties are a reminder of the dangers of going it alone when looking for a lower electric rate, as history has shown that not all electric companies are equally dependable and stable.

The PUC's fines date back to the high prices experienced by Texas customers in the spring and summer of 2008, and the failure of two energy providers: National Power Co. Inc. and Pre-Buy Electric LLC.  Both suppliers, prior to running into trouble, had some of the lowest electric rates in the market, enticing customers to sign up with these firms.  However, both companies lacked proper internal controls and risk management processes to serve customers reliably.  When wholesale electric prices soared, these companies had not hedged their purchases in advance, and could not cover the exorbitant costs of serving their customers.  The end result was that thousands of these companies' customers, who had been promised some of the lowest electric rates in the state, were shifted to the emergency "back-up" electric company, known at the Provider of Last Resort.  In some cases, the rates customers ended up paying for the emergency Provider of Last Resort service was more than double the rate they were promised from their original electric company.

The risk of your energy provider going out of business is one of the top reasons you should not go it alone when trying to find the lowest electric rate.  There are about one hundred electric companies in Texas, most of which are new start-ups with little operational history or record.  Even the most diligent customers doing their homework will be frustrated by the lack of available information on energy suppliers, which makes evaluating the technical fitness and managerial competency of a potential provider difficult, if not impossible, for the average customer.  The less stable companies naturally try to lure in customers with tantalizingly low prices, but such offers are merely a mirage when the supplier can't honor its commitment and forces the customer to pay a rate double the original price.

That's where the industry experts at can not only save you time by pitting the rates of the top energy suppliers against each other, but can also give you peace of mind that the low rate you find on will be honored by your energy provider.

With decades of experience in the energy industry,'s experts screen every supplier against a rigorous criteria evaluating financial fitness, managerial competency, risk management, and internal controls so that only suppliers that can stand behind their rate are recommended.  By conducting a thorough audit of the supplier's business practices and strategy, determines whether the supplier is a viable provider, or rather is a fly-by-night operator with questionable operational practices that could lead to problems, even default, in a turbulent market.

By using to find the lowest electric rate, Texas customers can be assured that their low rate will be honored for its full term, and won't disappear at the first sign of market unrest. takes the risk out of shopping for a lower electric rate, and eliminates one of the many worries first-time shoppers have about switching electric companies.

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