It's no coincidence that the greatest technological advancements related to helping electric customers save money are coming in Texas, because the state’s competitive energy market drives innovation and new thinking, Earth2Tech, a green technology publication, said in reviewing advancements in electric industry.

In reviewing TXU Energy’s innovative iThermostat, one of several products in the Texas market that allows customers to better monitor their consumption and save money, Earth2Tech noted:

“But at the end of the day, TXU Energy clearly needs to innovate and deliver new products if it wants to please (and keep) its customers."

Such is the story of the Texas competitive electric market.  Now that customers can vote with their feet and choose their own energy provider, they can pick the company that best meets their individual tastes and preferences.  If consumers are tech savvy and want the latest gadgets to aid in monitoring and reducing electric usage, they can choose such a company.  If consumers want to buy renewable and green power, they can find such a company.  If consumers want a company offering 24/7 customer service and hassle-free billing, they can find one.  If consumers want to be rewarded for their business, through things like airline miles, gift cards, and bill rebates, they have a host of electric companies to choose from offering all kinds of incentives to win customers' business.

All these value-added services aren't available in most other states, where electricity is sold the same way it was 100 years ago.  A monopoly provider sells a one-size-fits-all product, and consumers have no choice but to take it, even if it doesn't meet their needs.

In Texas, customers have a choice, and TXU's iThermostat is only the tip of the iceberg of innovations coming down the pike.  CPL Retail Energy (Direct Energy) recently launched a pilot offering a programmable thermostat capable of receiving communication, combined with energy efficiency improvements.

About a month ago, Oncor announced it had installed over a quarter of a million advanced meters in its service area (mainly Dallas/Fort Worth).  These smart meters are critical to unlocking even greater innovation in the electric industry.  With a critical mass starting to be reached, electric companies are preparing to roll out a host of new and innovative services to change the way customers buy electricity for the better, giving customers more options, more flexibility, and more importantly, more ways to save.