Smart Energy Shopping
Want to save 50% on your electric bill? Tricky plans and biased websites cost most Texans ~$500 and untold frustration every year. We’re different. Find your lowest rate quickly with our RateGrinder calculator that…
- Works better than Power To Choose
- Reveals teaser rates, fees, & gimmicks
- Asks no personal or account info
As the only 100% transparent site for shoppers, we don’t sell electricity. Instead, we search the plans and do the math for you, then monitor throughout your contract for additional savings . Don’t ignore your electric plan or pay more for lesser results.
Or read on to learn about shopping for electricity the right way.
How much do you pay for electricity? Many people think they know, but are surprised at the reality. Check the “average price you paid” fine print on your past bills to find out for sure. The average Texan pays 12 ¢/kWh, but savvy shoppers pay less than 8 ¢/kWh. The difference is hundreds or even thousands of dollars yearly.
Why do people overpay? Here are the usual reasons:
- They’re unaware they can switch providers, so they keep the pricey company their landlord, neighbor, or TV suggested.
- They’re unsure if switching will compromise their electric service. (Switching is easy and low-risk, and retailers have nothing to do with your service reliability.)
- They shopped, but got misled by tricky websites and teaser rates.
- They got distracted and their good plan lapsed into an expensive month-to-month renewal.
All of these are common and understandable, but easily solved. Since you’re reading this, you’re likely past the first two already. Which leads to our personal favorite…
The Shopping Game
Electricity shopping in Texas is a minefield of teaser rates and hidden charges. These could be easily avoided but for one problem: Most shopping websites — including the PUCT’s official PowerToChoose.org — only let you search and sort plans at a single usage point, typically 500, 1000, or 2000 kWh/ month. YOU SHOULD NOT SHOP THIS WAY, for two related reasons:
- Your monthly electricity usage varies a lot over the year, doubling or more from the spring/fall lows to the summer AC peak. The chart below shows the profile for the “average” Texas residence, but yours will differ depending on your home’s size, layout, insulation, appliances, pool, etc.
- Knowing this, many retail electric companies tease you with “low rates” at one or two commonly searched usages, then charge much higher rates across your broader range of usage. They do this with various fees, credits, pricing tiers, time-of-use rates, lumped services, and other methods that make it hard for shoppers to compute and compare their true costs.
As an example, one website often buys the top ad slot when you search for “power to choose”. Their “lowest-rate” 12-month plan recently touted 7.9 ¢/kWh rates for using 1000 or 2000 kWh/month. While that’s true, the orange line below reveals the full rate profile. The home above would actually pay an average of 10.7 ¢/kWh. That’s $532/year more than the actual best plan. No wonder they can afford to advertise so much.
If you shop at one of the 25+ sites that let you search by only a single usage point (i.e. 500, 1000, or 2000 kWh), you’ll likely find ill-suited teaser rates and other gimmicks that will cost you many hundreds of dollars extra. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME. Take 20 minutes to shop once the right way with this simple method…
Know Your Usage
Your month-by-month electricity usage is key since plan rates often vary drastically across that range. It may take a few extra minutes to look up the 12 numbers, but the overall time and money savings will be worth it. At the very least learn your high (~August) and low (~April) usages. It doesn’t have to be exact: Barring major changes to your home, your past usage is generally a good enough estimate of your future usage. Here are two simple methods:
- Check your past billing statements, or
- Use the free SmartMeterTexas.com site:
- Create or Login to your account
- Navigate to the “Usage” tab, then “My Usage” screen
- Under “Report Option” \ “Report Type”, select “Monthly Usage”
- Get your 12 monthly “Actual kWh” numbers from the bottom table
With this information, you can now truly find the best plan for your home.
Shop Across Your Usage Range
Although PowerToChoose.org serves a valuable role as the official marketplace for the most cost effective plans in Texas, it does not let you search based on your month-to-month usage. Thus, you should not use PowerToChoose.org to search for your plan. Instead, use a tool or website that does the full month-by-month math on those same PowerToChoose.org offerings.
Texas Power Guide provides everything you need. We decipher the fine print on the available plans daily and publish the key details in our RateGrinder database and spreadsheet calculator. You can compare your plan options, download the source file, and even edit it with no obligation. If it saves you time and money on signing a new contract, we ask only $10 in return, paid on the honor system. Here are some advantages of our approach:
- Compare all plan costs and REP fees at a glance
- Trust our 100% transparent database and calculations
- Model your old plan for comparison or termination fee justification
- Let RateAlert notify you of expirations and better deals
- Save your results to monitor your new plan’s future billings
Ready to save money? Click below to start…
1 Average savings potential based on [(12.2 ¢/kWh avg 2015 REP customer rate) – (0.5 ¢/kWh 2015→2016 est’d market adj’t) – (8.0 ¢/kWh target)] * [14,000 kWh average Texas usage] = $518/yr savings. YMMV.