As the extreme heat of the Texas summer is about to begin in earnest, Texans still have an opportunity to lock-in an extremely low electric rate for the next 12 months to give them price protection against any price spikes associated with the hotter summer weather.

Texas electric rates typically rise during the summer as the large amounts of air conditioning used by Texans to keep cool strain the electric grid, and require more power to be generated.  This extra power, generated by the most inefficient plants which are pressed into service only during such "peak" times, can raise electric rates for customers who haven't locked-in price protection.

Fortunately, Texas electric rates are still at historic lows, and haven't substantially increased from the springtime, which is usually the best time to shop for power.  That means if you've put off shopping for a low electric rate because you've been too busy, you still have a great opportunity to find a new energy provider offering a secure, low fixed rate for 12 months, or longer.

In the summer of 2008, Texas electric rates spiked to as high as 20¢ per kilowatt-hour -- or even more -- due to record demand as well as high natural gas prices.

Compare that to the low rates available today.  For example, a customer in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area (at Oncor) can lock-in a fixed rate for a little more than 9¢ per kilowatt-hour for 12 months, a savings of over 50%.  And that low rate isn't a teaser rate, it's guaranteed to provide customers with a low, reliable rate for a year, shielding them from any extreme price spikes that the electric market experiences.  Rates in the Houston area (at CenterPoint) are a few tenths of a penny higher, but are still a great value compared with prices over the last five years.

As the weather gets hotter and hotter, the opportunity to lock-in a low electric rate may disappear, so customers should take advantage of today's low prices to guarantee themselves price protection.