Shopping for electricity?
The average Texan could save over $500 a year, but complex plans and poor online tools (including PowerToChoose.org) mislead shoppers into overpaying. We’re different. Save time and money with our RateGrinder calculator that…
- Compares plans from Power To Choose and elsewhere for your home’s usage
- Exposes all rate and fee details
- Asks no personal or account info
Don’t waste money ignoring your electric plan or paying others to manage it.
Or keep reading below about the right way to shop for electricity.
The Electricity Plans Game
|TDU Area||Avg kWh/mo|
|Avg paid||12.2¢ 1|
|2/20/17: Avg of 10 cheapest plans at scaled profile (below)|
Do you know how much you pay for electricity? Many people think they do, but would be surprised at the reality. Check the “average price you paid” disclosure on your past bills to find out for sure. (Tip: The more you pay, the smaller the print will likely be.)
Shopping for an electric plan has been tedious and tricky. 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 home’s usage varies significantly over the year, doubling or more from the spring/fall lows to the summer AC peak. The chart below shows the usage profile for the “average” Texas residence, but yours will differ in size and shape with differences in your home’s size, layout, insulation, appliances, pool, etc.
- Many retailers offer plans with teaser rates targeted at one or more of those commonly searched usage points to get your attention and business, knowing they’ll make their money back with higher rates across your broader range of usage. They do this with various charges, credits, pricing tiers, time-of-use rates, lumped services, and other methods that make it tedious for shoppers to compute and compare their true costs.
As an example, one website often pays for 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 10.6 ¢/kWh. That’s $573/year more than the actual best plan. No wonder they can afford to advertise so much.
If you shop at one of the 20+ 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 rate plans 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 by Month
Knowing your month-by-month usage is key since plan rates often vary drastically across that range. It doesn’t have to be exact: Unless you’re planning major changes to your home, your past 12 months’ usage is generally close enough to your future usage. Here are two simple options:
- 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. Therefore, you should not use PowerToChoose.org to search for your plan. Instead, use a tool or website that does the math on those same PowerToChoose.org offerings based on your month-by-month usage.
Our RateGrinder calculator has everything you need, and it is updated daily with the latest available plans. You can download, peruse, and even edit the file with no obligation. If it saves you time and money on signing a new contract, we ask only $5-$10 in return. Here are some advantages of our approach:
- Compare all plan costs and REP fees at a glance
- Filter, sort, and edit the options any way you like
- Trust our 100% transparent database and calculations
- Model your old plan for comparison or termination fee justification
- Save your results to monitor your new plan’s future billings
Ready to save money?
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.