Moving to Texas? Here are things to know when you move to the Lone Star State. Plus we cover the two things that are different in Texas than anywhere else. That’s (1) how to shop for electricity in Texas, and (2) how to figure out the Texas driver’s license and registration process. Plus “Moving to Texas” moving memes just for fun! Let’s get started!
- Why is Everyone Moving to Texas?
- What’s Different in Texas Than the Rest of the Country?
- How to Shop for an Electricity Plan in Texas
- How to Find Apartment Electricity
- Should I Take my Electricity Plan with Me? (I already live in Texas)
- How Much Does Electricity Cost in Texas?
- Moving To Texas – Texas Driver’s License and Registration
- Moving to Texas Memes
Why is Everyone Moving to Texas?
Everyone isn’t moving to Texas. It just seems that way. Texas is the number 2 destination for moves in the country, after Florida.
Among re-locators coming from other states, there are more Californians moving to Texas than from any other state. In 2017, 63, 000 people from California moved to Texas, making it the top move destination for folks leaving the Gold Coast for the Gulf Coast.
Why are people moving from California to Texas? And what are the top reasons to move to Texas overall? Top reasons include:
- Employment opportunities
- Low cost of living
- Low cost of housing
- No state income taxes
Basically, it’s about financial opportunity — it’s why early american settlers moved to Texas in the first place.
So if you are wondering, “should I move to Texas,” the answer is yes.
We even offer this moving to Texas checklist so you don’t forget anything.
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What’s Different in Texas Than the Rest of the Country?
Unless it’s rodeo season, you won’t find Texans walking around with spurs and 10-gallon hats. However, there are two things that are very different in Texas:
(1) How you set up electricity for your Texas home
(2) The Texas driver’s license process is confusing as heck.
Texas is Deregulated: How that Impacts Your Texas Move
In Texas, electricity is deregulated. And, Texas electricity is deregulated in a different way than the rest of the country.
In regulated areas of the country, you have to go with the local utility. You don’t have a choice of electricity supplier.
In other deregulated areas of the country, like Ohio or Connecticut, you can choose your supplier for your electricity. But the local utility company delivers the power and continues to send your bill.
In deregulated areas of Texas, you must choose a Retail Electricity Provider, also called a REP. Your local utility company (also called the transmission and distribution utility or TDU) can’t supply your electricity for your home.
Once you choose a REP, that REP will bill you for all delivery charges from the local utility, plus your electricity supply. The local utility company will handle any power outages and read your meter.
When you are moving to Texas, your realtor may recommend a specific retail electricity provider. But just remember, you have a lot of different retail energy companies you can pick from to get the best electricity rate in Texas.
If this sounds scary, don’t worry, you’ve got this. Just keep reading.
Note: Certain areas of Texas are still regulated. This includes El Paso, San Antonio, Austin and Beaumont. Want to know if you can choose your electricity supplier where you are moving? Enter your zip code below.
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Shop Electricity Rates for Your New Texas Home
How to Shop for an Electricity Plan When You Move to Texas
For a full rundown of how to shop for electricity, see our Definitive Guide to Shopping for Electricity in Texas. But here’s a quickie overview of how to shop for an electricity provider in Texas.
What kind of electricity plan is best for me?
When you are moving into a new home, we recommend a simple fixed rate plan.
This secures your energy rate per kWh for the term of your contract agreement. It’s the simplest type of electricity plan, especially since you don’t know how much electricity you will use in your home.
You may be able to get electricity usage information for your home from your realtor or your apartment manager.
However, around 50% of your electricity bill in Texas will be for heating and cooling. And you may use your A/C differently from the prior owner/tenant. That’s why we recommend picking the cheapest price per kWh, for a basic electricity plan. Don’t go with tiered rates or bill credit plans until you know how much YOU use in the new home.
You can use ElectricityPlans.com to shop for the best electricity rate for your Texas home. Just enter your zip code and review plans, sorted by electricity price.
What are some tricks to watch for when shopping for electricity in Texas?
When you are shopping, watch out for introductory rates or electricity rates that are substantially lower than other offers. Always read the fine print, to make sure you understand what you are signing up for.
When you use ElectricityPlans.com to shop for your Texas electricity plan, we summarize all of the plan details for you. We’ll even help you calculate your estimated monthly bill.
If you want to use that feature, just ask the realtor or apartment manager to find out average usage. Or, you can assume 1200 kWh per month for a house and 900 kwh monthly for an apartment.
What are TDU delivery charges?
TDU stands for Transmission and Distribution Utility. Your TDU is the company that maintains the poles and wires and reads your meter. You’ll pay TDU delivery charges no matter which electricity provider you’re with. Some will show these bundled with your electricity rates, others will pass these charges on to you as a line item on your bill.
When you shop for electricity on our site, you’ll find all electricity prices quoted with the delivery and electricity charges. That way you can compare multiple suppliers.
What are my choices for electricity providers in Texas?
Here’s a list of the major electricity providers in Texas. There are over 45 electricity companies to choose from in Texas. Offers vary from fixed rate plans, variable month to month plans, free electricity at certain times, pre-paid electricity and plans with free gadgets like a smart WiFi thermostat or home hub. Using ElectricityPlans.com to shop makes it easy to compare rates and plans.
>>Pin this to your Pinterest moving to Texas checklist. That way you’ll have access to it when you’re ready to shop for electricity!
How to Find Apartment Electricity in Texas
How you shop for apartment electricity is no different than shopping for other electricity in Texas, other than usage.
Because your square footage is smaller than with a house, your usage will likely be lower. You will want to watch out for electricity plans that have base charges or minimum usage fees, as those charges will drive up your average price per kilowatt hour. We’ve made it easy by highlighting plans that are especially good for apartment dwellers.
When you apply for electricity service with any retailer (whether a house or an apartment), you will need to pass a credit check. After paying your apartment deposit and first month’s rent, it’s no fun being hit with a deposit for electricity.
If your credit is over 600, you’ll be approved with no problem. If your credit is below 600, you may be required to pay a deposit.
To avoid a deposit, you should consider pre-paid electricity plans instead. With these plans, you will pre-pay around $30-$40 to start your electricity. You’ll receive text messages letting you know your balance, and reminders to add money to your account. And, there are fixed rate pre-paid plans too, so you won’t have to worry about your provider raising your rate every month.
You can set up your electricity up to 60 days in advance. But if you need same day electricity, make sure you call before the cut-off time. Most retailers can set up same day electricity if you call by 3pm, but some can help you as late as 6pm.
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Should I Take my Electricity Plan with Me? (I already live in Texas)
Most of this article assumes you are moving to Texas. But, if you already live in Texas, you have a decision to make when you move.
You can take your electricity plan with you, or you can shop. Even if you are in a contract for your electricity, moving to a new home triggers a legal out for you.
Yup, electricity contracts in Texas lets you cancel your electricity when moving, with no penalty.
PRO TIP: Shop electricity rates and compare them to the contract rate you currently have. Depending on when you signed up for service, your rate may be higher or lower than current offers.
If it’s higher, definitely shop. And if it’s lower, transfer the electricity contract you have and mark your calendar to start shopping for electricity 60 days prior to your contract expiration.
If you want to transfer your electricity contract to your new home, your best approach is to log in to your account online, or go to your REP’s website. That way you can schedule the service stop at your old house, and easily schedule the service start date at your new home. You can schedule a transfer up to 60 days out, and can usually overlap service at the two locations if needed.
If you want to cancel electricity when moving, all you need to do is let your current REP know that you are moving out of your home. You can usually do this online, to make it easy on yourself. You’ll need to provide proof of move (usually just by typing in your forwarding address) and the date you are moving out. They will automatically waive your cancellation fee, if applicable. TIP: watch for your final bill and make sure they didn’t accidentally charge the early termination fee.
Once you have scheduled the cancellation or “move-out” of your old home, you will want to shop for electricity in your new home.
One common question we receive: can you have electric in your name in two houses while you’re moving? Or course you can. If you’re taking your contract with you, you can pick overlapping move-in and move-out dates. That lets the lights stay on while you’re packing or doing last minute move checklist items.
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Find the Best Texas Electricity Plan for Your Home
How Much Does Electricity Cost in Texas?
When you’re buying a new home, you’ll want to know how much utilities will be in a new house.
The average price per kWh in Texas is 11.89¢ per kWh, according to the EIA (October 2020). But how much you pay per kilowatt hour will depend on the electricity plan you select.
Your electricity bill is a function of the price you pay for electricity (supply and delivery) and how much you use.
The Texas average electricity usage is 1200 kWh per month. But your usage will vary by the size and age of your home, number of occupants, and other factors.
Also, be aware that electricity usage in Texas is driven by Texas heat and, for the Gulf Coast, humidity. Air conditioning season runs roughly half the year. During July, August and September, your electricity use can be nearly three times as high as it is during other months.
Moving To Texas – Texas Driver’s License and Registration
Ok, enough about electricity. (Sorry, it’s what we do.)
Once you’ve moved to Texas, you will need to get a Texas car registration and Texas driver’s license, in that order. Add it to your “Moving to Texas Checklist.”
You have 30 days to register your car and 90 days to get a new driver’s license.
Here’s how to get your Texas driver’s license and Texas car registration:
First, Texas Vehicle Registration. You must register your vehicle before you can apply for a Texas Driver License from the Texas DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles. To register your car in Texas you will need these three things:
- Proof of Insurance. In Texas, you must show you have insurance coverage for a minimum of $30,000 per injured person, up to a total of $60,000 for everyone injured in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage. If your insurance is still set up in a different state, you should bring the whole policy document with you.
- Proof of Vehicle Inspection. You can get an inspection at many locations across the state. You will need to show proof of insurance to receive an inspection
- Proof of Ownership. This can be the title, or your registration from another state.
Take all that paperwork to the County Tax Office for the county that you reside in. The DMV’s website is easy to navigate if you need additional information.
Second, Get Your Texas Driver’s License. You will go to the the Texas DPS or Department of Public Safety to get your driver’s license. To receive your Texas driver’s license, apply in person at any of the DPS locations. Some licensing centers will allow you to set an appointment online to hold your place in line. That will save you time, so you can get back to unboxing your new home!
Here’s what you will need for a new Texas driver’s license:
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence
- Proof of Texas Residency, Identity and Social Security Number
- Your valid license from the state in which you previously resided. You will need to surrender this if you want to avoid retaking your driving exam.
- Evidence of Texas Vehicle Registration for each vehicle you own (if you do not own a vehicle you will sign a statement affirming this)
- Proof of Insurance for each vehicle you own (again, if you do not own a vehicle you will sign a statement affirming this)
- Texas driver’s license application. You can find and download the Application for Texas Driver License or ID Card to save time.
- $25 application fee
Planning Your Move to Texas
Here are some great resources on moving to Texas:
- If you are looking for a moving company to move to Texas, check out Consumer Advocates. Their guide to finding the best moving companies is a comprehensive review.
- Locally, Houston-based 3MenMovers is a professional mover in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. They have a number of resources on moving, like The Best Way to Pack for Your Move and How to Move in the Texas Heat.
- Bookmark our Pinterest boards on Moving to Texas, Moving Tips to Save Money and Military Move Tips and Checklist.
- Check out our article on 10 Best Moving Tips from Relocation Experts.
Moving to Texas Memes
Once you move to Texas, you’ll find things are a little different. But like everywhere, we like to laugh at ourselves and enjoy the things that makes Texas unique.
These memes make moving to Texas fun. Enjoy!
(Want more? Here’s a whole page of Texas Memes!)