Posted by: Frank Eakin | June 5, 2019

The Truth About Power to Choose

Choosing the best electricity rates and plans in Texas may be confusing, especially if you don’t know exactly how to properly compare energy plans. Using the State of Texas Power to Choose website may not be a viable option for comparing and enrolling in energy plans anymore, as thousands of citizens have continued to experience serious billing surprises from providers displaying plans on the site due to a lack of quality control over years.

The Truth About Power to Choose Electricity Texas

You may have heard of Power to Choose electricity, which is a state-owned website set up to help Texans find the best electricity rates. However, the reality is that while many people use to find cheap energy plans, they are later disappointed and angry about unexpected, hidden charges and ugly billing surprises from providers on the site. The main issue is that the state has allowed many providers to game their rankings with gimmick plans that trick consumers.

The problem with Power to Choose is that any energy provider in Texas can display their information on the site regardless of its BBB rating, PUC violations, reputation, and complaints. The website was initially created to help customers compare electric rates on an apples-to-apples basis, but it has proven to be unreliable. As consumers have opted for ultra-low rates displayed on the site, they have later discovered hidden charges and unfair fees, and when they attempt to switch to another electricity provider, they have to pay a hefty contract termination fee. Members of the Texas State Legislature have been seriously considering closing the site due to the volume of complaints.

Power to Choose Comments

Here are some quotes from Texas government officials:

  • “People are misled with the rates they are signing up for.” — state Rep. Jared Patterson, Dallas News, Feb. 15, 2019
  • “If two years from now none of these things work, then I think we need to reconsider the wisdom of a government agency running a commercial website.” — PUC of Texas Chairman DeAnn Walker, Dallas News blog, Aug. 16, 2018
  • “The data I’ve seen, it just doesn’t reflect any economic reality,” he said. “It’s obviously intended to mislead.” — PUC of Texas Commissioner Arthur C. D’Andrea, Dallas News, June 29, 2018, regarding the Power to Choose Texas website.

Why You Should Choose Home Energy Club

We at Home Energy Club aim to help our valued customers choose energy plans with the lowest rates that best suit their home, and actively help them avoid bill surprises by manually vetting each energy plan considered for the site. Since 2011, we’ve studied the structures of energy plans and use a system that lets us look under the hood of each plan to determine if it includes gimmicks that cause billing surprises. We call it TrustPlan. If we believe that a plan is likely to cause billing surprises, we don’t show it on our website, unlike the Power to Choose website, which allows virtually any electricity provider to display its information.

How Do I Get the Best Deal on Electricity?

In order to get the best deal on electricity, you have to carefully read the Electricity Facts Label of any plan that you consider in order to make sure that it’s a fit for your home based on your usage patterns, and that all the terms meet your approval. Also, it’s important not to choose a new energy plan during the summer, as the electricity rates are higher due to the high demand for electricity, and you may end up locking in a high rate for a long time. We’ve created two guides to quickly help you become a better energy buyer to save money, including one that teaches you how to read and use an Electricity Facts Label and our Savvy Shopper’s Texas energy guide.

Who Is the Cheapest Electricity provider?

There are over 100 electricity providers in Texas, and some of them may not have energy plans available in your zip code. The best way to gain the lowest electricity rates in Texas and avoid billing surprises is to choose a plan from one of the major brands on Home Energy Club, and use our guides and tools on the site to help in your selection.

It’s smart to consider a multi-year electricity plan so you can lock in a good rate for up to 60 months without having to worry about rate increases. All you need to do is enter your zip code, and the website will show you all the plans available in your area from the electric companies allowed to display on the site.

With the above-mentioned information, it’s now easier for you to come up with the best energy plan that fits your monthly electricity usage.

Why You Should Carefully Read the Electricity Facts Label (EFL)

It’s important to understand the information that each Electricity Facts Label (EFL) provides so you can choose the correct plan depending on your energy usage. An EFL is a state-mandated label that has the rates per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for three usage levels: 500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, and 2,000 kWh. In addition, it includes information about each plan’s term length, TDU charges, termination fees, and whether your rate will be variable or fixed.

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