Texas has deregulated their electricity market, and this has led to the offering of a wide range of options for the residence of Texas. Although not available everywhere, more than 85 percent of Texan residents have access to the benefits of deregulation.
Compared to other states, Texas seems strange. When you first move into a home, you must decide on which electric company to give your business to. In other states, there is usually one electricity company that provides the power. In Texas, there is still one power company that owns the power lines and repairs them, but there are several retail electricity providers that compete for your business.
These retail electric providers, abbreviated REP, not only compete on prices, but they offer different plans. A consumer must not only compare the providers, but the different types of plans offered by each company. Typically, an REP will offer at least three plans but sometimes more. Some of the options include the length of the contract. A consumer can get a plan that lasts as few as three months, but can also get plans that does not expire for 36 months. Long term contracts are often good for commercial businesses that need a steady price for electricity because it is a big expense for their operations. Residential consumers enjoy fixed pricing as well; nobody likes to see a sudden spike in the electric bill.
Some providers have adopted rewards programs. You can earn points for your electricity usage and exchange these points for such things as gift certificates for local restaurants and stores. You can also get credits for a reduction in your electric bill. Some providers will offer a one time gift card to simply sign up for their service.
Consumers can also choose to use an REP that is engaged in green energy. There are different sources of power generation in the state, and some methods are cleaner than others. For example, using natural gas to produce electricity is cleaner than using coal. A customer can choose a provider that is generating clean electricity.
Some electricity companies texas plans have no minimum monthly usage requirements. These are usually the plans that have long-term contracts with fixed pricing. Shorter term contracts will often have a minimum usage requirement, and if this minimum usage is not met, there is a fee charge for that month. In fact, one area of comparison shopping for an REP is the fee schedules. Some companies will have more than others, and the amounts may be different. It is important to read and understand the fees specified for each company.
Other than the differences in plans, prices and fees, there is the issue of customer service. The only way to get a feel for the level of customer service is to talk to your friends and neighbors as well as read online reviews.
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