Last year saw increased wholesale and retail prices in Texas due to low reserve margins and hot weather. This year will bring more of the same. Learn how reserve margin, weather, and operating reserves will all play a role in driving up 2019 Texas electricity rates.
Most of us have been there. You forget to pay the bill. You go on vacation. You’re running short on funds. And then that disconnection notice comes in the mail. Oh no! What now? This article will explain your rights and responsibilities for your electricity bill in Texas, and how to avoid electricity disconnection.
What happens if your Retail Electricity Provider (REP) were to suddenly go out of business? In Texas, thanks to the Provider of Last Resort (POLR), your lights will stay on. But, your bill will go up dramatically! In this article, you’ll learn about the POLR, and why you should immediately shop for electricity if the POLR becomes your provider.
Texas electricity customers face historically high electricity prices this summer. The rising energy rates are not so much a result of the cost of natural gas, the primary commodity used to generate electricity, but are a result of increased demand and anticipated shortages in supply. What does this mean for customers on variable rate, month to month electricity plans? High, high, high electricity rates for the dog days of summer. Who is most at risk? Prepaid electricity customers and customers on holdover rates from expired electricity contracts.
If you’ve shopped for an electricity plan in Texas recently, you’ve probably noticed that rates are rising. In fact, some of the energy rates for Texas plans have increased over 30% so far in 2018 and will continue to rise as the summer approaches.
What’s contributing to this rise? In short, it’s simple economics. Understanding the market forces at play in ERCOT will help you make an informed decision about your energy needs going into the summer and avoid a painful utility bill.
Being the electricity geeks that we are, we talk way too much with our customers, friends, and family about the price they’re paying for electricity. For whatever reason, people happen to like to swap stories about their electricity provider and rate. The conversation usually starts with “Hey, guess what? I just got a <insert ridiculously low rate>,” and usually (unfortunately) ends with a gotcha and a comment about teaser rates, fine print, and usage.
The biggest piece of advice we give to electricity shoppers is to know your historical electricity usage. This is especially true in markets like Texas where the advertised price of electricity is a combination of an energy rate and a delivery rate, and the final price you pay is completely dependent on your monthly kWh usage.
Sharyland customers – your nightmare electricity bills are officially coming to an end.
On July 24, 2017, Oncor announced that it had reached a definitive asset swap agreement with Sharyland Utilities (SU) valued at approximately $400 million. Upon PUCT approval and successful close of the transaction, Sharyland will receive approximately 258 miles of 345 kV transmission lines from Oncor, and Oncor will receive all of Sharyland’s distribution network and, following ERCOT transitioning, all of Sharyland’s retail delivery customers.
As the people of Southeast Texas return to their homes and assess the damage from Harvey, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) has taken steps to help those directly impacted. On August 31, the PUCT passed emergency order #47552 requiring Retail Electric Providers to offer deferred payment plans to customers, by request, in areas covered by a disaster proclamation until September 29, 2017.
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?
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.