Millions of consumers wonder how to get a better deal on electricity. Is it really possible, they ask, to shop around and negotiate with electric companies in Texas for better rates, special perks, and seasonal offers? The answer is yes, you can become a pro-active consumer to get good deals from electric companies. What do you have to do?

The way electric companies in Texas work is that they are willing to speak with consumers and negotiate prices, deposits, fees, contract length, and multiple other factors that make up a typical utility agreement. Anyone who reviews all the different features of energy plans Houston has to offer is well aware that no two providers are exactly alike. Some electric companies in Texas charge higher per-kilowatt-hour prices than others. Other electric companies allow customers to use energy-saving apps to cut down on usage and even encourage them to do so.

Know Your Energy Habits

Experts say the key to saving money and getting the best deals is knowing your own energy-usage patterns. For example, do you tend to use electricity mostly during peak times of the day, or do you have an unusual work schedule that allows you to sleep during the day and be awake at night? This is an important consideration because electric companies in Texas charge much more for kilowatts during peak usage times in the late afternoon and early evening.

You should also decide what kinds of extras you need, like easy-pay apps that allow you to pay for electricity on your smartphone or at the provider’s website. Perhaps you are on the lookout for electric companies that give you rebates for installing programmable thermostats and smart meters. Make some notes about what you want from the electric companies in Texas you are considering. A little bit of research before you sign up can save you a significant amount of cash in the long run.

Finding the Best Deals The energy plans Houston residents have available to them include many money-saving choices. The important factor to remember is that you usually have to do a little research or call the company and ask about details. In fact, the energy plans Houston consumers can choose from range from high- to low-priced options, plans that offer off-peak bonuses, and more. The first three strategies are often referred to as “call and ask,” “know what you want,” and “always negotiate.” Being a pro-active consumer will pay significant financial dividends, but you must be willing to make an effort.

Other energy plans Houston residents (and anyone in Texas) can take advantage of include some that offer short- or long-term contracts. That’s why a few other approaches for saving money include the buzzwords: “avoid contracts,” “say no,” and “shop around.” There’s more to it than just knowing those phrases, so be sure to study the following details to hone your deal-making technique:

  • Avoid Contracts: It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but for most consumers, contracts are not a great deal. A contract ties you down to specific terms for several months, at least, and restricts your future bargaining power. When speaking with company representatives, always point out that you want a month-to-month arrangement. If they don’t offer one, consider the shortest contract they offer, like a three-month option.
  • Say No: Learn to politely, but firmly, say no to offers you don’t like. Be willing to end the call with “Thank you, but I’m not interested in those terms” when the deal doesn’t appeal to you. Don’t be surprised if you get a return call or email agreeing to your original request. Sometimes it helps to negotiate with an energy company the same way you would with a car dealer. Be honest but forthright about your needs and wants. And always be willing to walk away from an offer you don’t like.
  • Shop Around: It is essential to be an informed consumer. You can’t begin to negotiate effectively until you know what all your local providers offer, at least as far as their basic plans are concerned. Know the lay of the land when it comes to all the companies and their standard plans, prices, and perks.
  • Call and Ask: Negotiating is about talking. Call company reps and ask for lower prices, more discounts, or more plan features. In the majority of cases when consumers get good deals, it’s because they phoned the company and asked.
  • Know What You Want: Do you want a discount for installing a smart meter or special thermostat? Do you want off-peak rate discounts not listed in company plan brochures? Make a specific list of exactly what you want in terms of energy plans. This list should be in front of you when you call to negotiate with representatives.
  • Always Negotiate: Never assume prices, terms, or perks are carved in stone. Always be willing to contact providers and negotiate any feature of a plan, particularly pricing, that interests you.

Put All Your Skills to Work

Remember that as a consumer in a deregulated state, you have the power to sniff out better deals from providers who want your business. If you become unhappy with your energy company, you can always switch to another one. The energy firms don’t want to lose business, so naturally, they will do everything they can, within reason, to retain the customers they already have. The words “within reason” are the key for you, the consumer.

It’s up to you to find your own best deal by “working the telephone,” asking specific questions, and comparing plan features. When you begin your quest by studying your own energy-usage patterns and then proceed to contact the providers and negotiate with them, you are in the driver’s seat. If you follow that simple, pro-active strategy, you can save a significant amount of money on your energy costs.