Many consumers wonder how to choose among energy providers in this era of deregulation. It’s an important question because selecting electric companies in Texas can be a challenge unless you know what to look for. In a way, deciding what company you’ll purchase your power from is like buying a car. There are multiple factors to consider in addition to the price.
The Many Sides of Choosing Energy Providers
When you set out to acquire a house or a new vehicle, you usually have a price range in mind, but there are also things like discounts, options, personal needs, and seasonal specials. When it comes to comparing electric companies in Houston, Texas, or the Lone Star State in general, you’ll need to do a bit of homework. Fortunately, all your research can be done online in less than an hour. But that time is well spent if you know what to look for and know how to compare electric companies in Texas to find the best overall deal that meets your needs.
Factors in Selecting Electric Companies in Texas
When it’s time to choose one of the many electric companies, there are seven key factors to consider. Review each one and make some notes about your own preferences when it comes to choosing among electric companies in Texas:
- Compare Prices: Believe it or not, price is not always the single most important factor for consumers looking for electric companies in Houston or in any other city. That’s because electric companies in the Lone Star State offer lots of convenient options, special pricing deals for certain categories of users, different packages of options, and more.
- Factor in the Extra Fees: Power companies in Texas are like other types of corporations that sell goods and services. For example, some providers have special charges and higher fees than others. These include items like late-payment penalties and deposits. These extras can add up fast, so be sure to read the fine print on service contracts before committing to a specific provider. Just a few minutes of research, especially in this category, can pay off in a big way.
- Evaluate Energy-Saving Tools: Some companies are very good about making life easy for their customers. That means they offer apps that can do things like track daily electric usage, see when peak usage times are and determine how to cut down on the amount of electricity you consume during “prime time.” Remember to check out company websites to make sure they offer hassle-free ways to make payments, check balances, view energy usage history, and more. These kinds of tools can make a big difference and the lack of these tools is often a deal-breaker for consumers who enjoy a seamless online experience with their energy company.
- Check Out Customer Reviews: Fortunately, you can find lots of consumer reviews of power providers. Simply enter the name of the company into any search engine, followed by the words, “customer reviews,” or “consumer reviews,” and you’ll be surprised at how many sites offer hundreds of honest evaluations of all the companies in your region. Study reviews for common themes like “customer service,” “fair pricing,” “energy-saving apps,” and similar key points.
- Learn About Rewards: Some providers offer financial rewards and discounts based on loyalty, low usage during peak periods, and other factors. Keep in mind that many of these rewards are not advertised. You have to ask. Call the companies you’re considering and ask, “What kinds of rewards programs are available to new customers like me?” They’ll let you know what you can take advantage of based on their current deals. Many of these offers are seasonal and not all companies run the same promotions. The point is that you have to do a little detective work to find out the pertinent information.
- Decide on Rate Types: With most providers, you’ll have a choice between fixed and variable rate plans. In most cases, fixed plans offer the lowest prices at any given moment. However, if rates decrease and you have a fixed plan, your rate will not decrease with the economic changes. Variable-rate plans rise and fall with the general price level of electricity. For those users, their monthly costs per kilowatt-hour will go up and down. Each type of plan offers pros and cons, so decide whether you want to lock in a price and forget about it, or wish to choose a more rate-responsive, variable plan. It depends on your personal preference.
- Research Your Usage: Before choosing any plan, study your own energy usage to determine when you use the most electricity if you use approximately the same amount from month to month, and whether you might be able to save with appliances like programmable thermostats. It pays to know your habits because you’ll be able to choose more wisely among the many plans and providers.
The Final Decision on Energy Providers and Electric Companies
Electric companies in Texas come in many varieties, which is good news for consumers. Competition is a healthy thing in any economy because it means you have a lot of options, can compare prices, factor in extra fees, evaluate energy-saving tools, check out customer reviews, learn about rewards, decide on rate types, research your usage, and more. For example, electric companies in Houston offer all sorts of deals for informed residents who want to save money. In fact, power companies in Texas, which include all the electric companies and energy providers in the State, offer a wide range of prices, special discounts, and usage-based deals for new and existing customers. For providers, it makes good sense to keep consumers happy in a competitive business environment like the great state of Texas.