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Is a Short or Long-Term Electricity Contract the Better Deal?

It’s no secret that the cost of electricity can vary widely from month to month.

Most electricity customers discover this firsthand if they have signed up for a month-to-month electricity contract. There are natural price variations that happen each month depending on factors such as customer demand and electricity fuel generation costs. To avoid these price swings, most residential electric customers choose an electricity plan that locks in a favorable rate for a fixed length of time.

Contract term lengths with your electricity provider can be as short as 3 months or as long as 5 years, with the most common generally ranging from 6 months to 2 years. You may think the longer contracts are the better deals, but are they? What is the best length of an electricity plan for you?

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Texas is Deregulated. Why Can’t I Choose My Electricity Provider?

For most people living in states open to electric competition, the year deregulation was adopted marked a complete turnaround of electricity as they knew it. Instead of only having one utility to fulfill both supply and delivery of electricity, consumers got the power to choose their own supplier. Providers offering electricity plans and better electricity rates flooded the market and suddenly there were hundreds of choices for consumers.

Sadly, the windfall of electric choice is not available to all who live in Texas. Electric cooperatives (“co-ops”) and municipally-owned utilities (“munis”) are exempt from participating in deregulation. Additionally, Texas law includes exceptions for certain investor-owned utilities to delay participation in retail competition because of lack of competition in their wholesale market and/or their lack of being part of ERCOT.

What does this mean for you?

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Is Your Electricity Contract Expiring Soon?

Electricity deregulation gives consumers the power to choose their own electricity provider and an electricity plan that fits their budget. With this freedom comes responsibility. That fabulous rate you signed up for with your electricity provider will come to an end when your contract expires.

Don’t let your electricity contract expire without taking action. If you let your contract expire without renewing or switching providers, you will have a shocking electric bill coming your way. Keeping your rate low isn’t overly difficult, but it does require some planning and timely action.

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Comparing the Best Prepaid Electricity Plans in Texas

If you’ve got bad credit, or if you’re just starting out in life and don’t have credit established, you’ll likely have to pay a hefty deposit with your electricity provider in order to get power to your home or apartment. Texas has another option for credit-sensitive customers – prepaid electricity plans. Prepaid electricity plans require no deposit, no credit check, and no ID, and you can get same day electricity in most cases.

Prepaid electricity plans work the same way as prepaid phone cards: you buy a certain amount of power ahead of time, and when you use it all up you buy more. Prepaid plans are not just for customers wanting to avoid a hefty deposit. Prepaid electricity plans also come with tools and alerts to help you save energy and manage the cost of electricity.

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Save Energy with Smart Home Technology

We still may not have our flying cars, but when it comes to home technologies, smart homes are fast turning stories into reality. Smart home automation is turning ordinary homes into super efficient showcases, designed to save labor and energy costs all at the same time.

Sure, having an electronic assistant that will turn on your oven and play your favorite songs is cool, but the best part about creating a smart home is the way you’ll lower your energy usage with every smart home addition you make. You don’t have to do a complete makeover in one massive renovation. Start with one piece of technology and add more when they fit your budget.

The savings you’ll realize with each addition will make it easier to speed the process in a surprisingly short amount of time.

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Moving Before Your Electricity Plan Expires?

Electricity providers in every deregulated market offer multiple types of contracts, from variable monthly plans to long-term plans that can last up to three years. The right length of contract for you can depend on where you live and how long you plan to stay there, as well as the time of year you sign up for your plan.

Your rate plan may have been the right one for you when you signed the contract, but what if something happens and you have to move before the contract ends? Unexpected things come up, and not everyone is able to stay where they live until the end of their electricity contract. What happens if you have to break your electricity contract?

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PlanScan – A New Personal Electricity Shopping Service

Overwhelmed by electricity plan choices? Feel like you might as well be throwing darts at a dartboard to pick your next electricity plan? We understand completely. ElectricityPlans.com is proud to introduce our new, free personal electricity shopping service called PlanScan.

With PlanScan, you can take the guesswork out of shopping for your next electricity plan. Let us help you find the perfect electricity plan with our new personal electricity shopping service available for Texas residential electricity customers. We take your information, run it through our electricity plan algorithm, and calculate the best choices based on the options you specify. No guesswork, no surprises, and best of all you get the reassurance that you have found a great electricity plan from a quality provider.

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5 Biggest Myths of PowertoChoose.org

When Texas became a deregulated market in 2002, The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) developed a website to educate consumers and promote deregulation. The site matured and in 2012 received a massive overhaul and became the PowertoChoose.org that Texans know today. A large-scale marketing campaign ensued to promote brand awareness and the PowertoChoose.org site soon became the place for Texans to shop for electricity. The site developed a large following.

Unfortunately, today some electricity providers take advantage of the weaknesses in the site in order to attract customers. As a result, the PowertoChoose.org has evolved to be far from an unbiased source of electricity plans with the consumer’s best interest in mind despite the PUCT’s good intentions. Learn more about the ways certain providers are exploiting this site and how consumer’s can avoid these pitfalls and find a better way to shop for electricity.

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The Evolution of Power to Choose in Texas: How Did We Get Here?

If you’re a Texas resident living in a deregulated utility delivery area, you have likely used the Power to Choose website to look for an electricity plan for your home. The Power To Choose website operated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has been both a significant contributor to the success of retail deregulation in Texas and the source of much confusion for Texas residents looking to compare electric rates and choose an electricity provider.

Lately, the PUCT’s site has come under fire from both consumers and providers for listing plans with potentially misleading electric rates. If you’re overwhelmed by the shear volume of electricity plans and confusing rates listed on PowertoChoose.org, you’re not alone. 

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Why Is Your Electric Bill Higher Than You Expected?

You read the electricity providers’ information and picked what you thought was the best electricity plan available in your state. You even compared electricity rates offered and chose the cheapest plan.

Now you’ve received your first electric bill, and the power costs are much higher than you expected. What’s going on? Why doesn’t the electricity rate on your bill match what you signed up for? Why is your electric bill higher than you expected?

When it comes to choosing the right electricity plan, it really does pay to spend time reading the fine print. To get an accurate apples to apples comparison, the details buried deep in each plan’s rate documents are the ones that determine how much you’ll actually pay at the end of each month.

Live in Texas? See How To Read An Electricity Facts Label (EFL) for more information.

Unfortunately, many electricity customers pay more than expected on their electric bills and don’t realize it. Let’s break down the most common reasons for unexpectedly high electric bills.

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