Moving to Texas? Get the inside scoop on electricity

May 15, 2019   By Arthur Murray

Moving to Texas? Get the inside scoop on electricity

Are you moving to Texas this spring or summer? You’re not alone – the state continues to lead the nation in population growth, according to the Census Bureau. Depending on which state you’re coming from, though, you might find a surprise – the largest deregulated electricity market in the U.S.

That begs the question: What is energy deregulation? Put simply, it’s energy choice. In most states, consumers have no choice in where they buy electricity – they simply sign up with the local utility and pay whatever the utility charges.

Texas is different – this won’t be the first time you hear this! More than 85 percent of the Texas population lives in parts of the state featuring energy choice.

If you’re planning a move to DallasHoustonFort Worth or one of these Texas cities, you must choose a retail energy provider – the lingo is REP – to supply your home’s electricity.

You can make your choice based on price, brand, the official state complaint scorecard, the amount of green energy included, term length and more.

It’s OK if you’re confused. Keep reading:

Terms you need to know when moving to Texas

If you’re moving to Texas and are new to deregulation, there are a few terms you should know before signing up with an REP:

  • Fixed-rate: Fixed-rate plans are best for customers who seek consistency in their monthly bills. With a fixed-rate plan, you will be charged the same electricity supply rate every month – differences in the supply portion of your bill will come from different usage levels. (Remember, transmission and delivery fees – charged by utilities to get electricity to your house – are not included in the supply charge and can change during your term.)
  • Variable-rate: Variable-rate plans can fluctuate month to month based on several market factors including weather, global energy prices and more. Experts predict that Texas energy prices will soar again this summer, so a variable-rate plan may not be the best choice for new customers.
  • Renewable energy: In an effort to make your energy more eco-friendly, many Texas providers offer plans sourced by up to 100 percent renewable energy. And just because they’re green doesn’t mean they must cost more – many green energy plan rates are just as competitive as traditional plans.
  • Term length: Competitive plans in Texas can range from three months to three years, so you can shop for a new rate as often as you’d like. Homeowners may prefer long-term plans that offer pricing stability, while renters can opt for short-term plans with more flexibility.

Some common questions

How long does it take to get my power turned on?

Many providers allow customers to schedule an electricity service start date, so you can crank your home’s air conditioner and turn up the tunes while you unload the moving truck.

Who do I call if there’s a power failure?

Call the transmission and delivery utility for your area. It’s responsible for delivering electricity to your home and maintaining the wires and other equipment that gest it there.

What happens when my plan ends?

REPs in Texas must give customers notice at least 30 days before the end of a power contract. Then you can choose a plan again (our recommendation) with SaveOnEnergy.com® or another marketplace. If you don’t, your current provider can renew your service, but it could – and likely will – increase your rate.

What if I don’t like my provider? Can I switch?

You can, but you could be subject to an early termination fee if you switch before your plan’s term expires. That fee – and other useful information – is included in a plan’s Electricity Facts Label. Be sure to read it before you sign up for service.

Will my bill be the same every month if I sign up for a fixed-rate plan?

No. The fixed rate applies only to your electricity-supply rate. The other factor to consider is your usage. Your rate can change depending on how much electricity you use – usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). Many Texas plans feature different rates for using 500, 1,000 and 2,000 kWh. Your TDU charge (which also can be called a TDSP charge) also is subject to change.

What can I expect from summer prices?

You can expect them to increase. As mentioned above, Texas is going through a second summer of uncertain reserve capacity, according to regulators. That could lead to higher prices and even some spot outages. That’s why longer term plans might be the best option to get through the summer price volatility if you’re moving to Texas.

I’m still confused. What can I do?

We’re glad you asked, and we’re glad you’re moving to Texas. SaveOnEnergy.com has a team of energy experts that can talk you through evaluating the various rates and plans to help you focus your switch. Tell our professionals what’s important to you and they’ll find great options. Call the number at the top of this page and get started today.