Moving to Texas? Get the inside scoop on electricity
Are you moving to Texas this summer? You’re not alone – five of the top ten fastest-growing U.S. cities are located in Texas in 2021. Depending on which state you’re coming from, though, you might be surprised by one Texas factor – 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 only have one option for where they buy electricity – they can only sign up with the local utility and pay the rate that 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.
You can make your choice based on energy rates, provider brands, the plan features, 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 stability and security 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. While variable rates may entice you with lower rates during times of low demand, those rates can go up if energy demand goes up. Texas energy prices often spike in the summer months, so a variable-rate plan may not be the best choice for new residents.
- Renewable energy: In an effort to make your home more eco-friendly, many Texas providers offer plans sourced by up to 100 percent renewable energy. And just because they’re green doesn’t necessarily mean they 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. Even better – most Texas homes include a smart meter, so your provider can turn your electricity on without sending a technician out to your home.
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. Your utility company is determined based on where you live. In Texas, the utilities are CenterPoint Energy, Oncor, Texas-New Mexico Power, and AEP Texas.
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 the free SaveOnEnergy® 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. Fixed rates apply 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 utility charge is also subject to change.
What can I expect from summer prices?
You can expect them to increase as the weather warms up. Historically, energy demand rises when the temperatures begin to spike, and this drives up the wholesale cost of electricity. That’s why longer-term plans might be the best option to get through the summer price spikes if you’re moving to Texas in the coming months.
I’m still confused. What can I do?
We’re glad you asked, and we’re glad you’re moving to Texas. SaveOnEnergy has a team of energy experts that can talk you through evaluating the various rates, plans, and providers to take the guesswork out of energy shopping. Tell our professionals what’s important to you and they’ll help you find the best options in your new neighborhood. Call 1-844-874-4275 or enter your ZIP code here to secure your electricity rate today.