Start by visiting http://www.PowerToChose.org.
This will list the "cheapest" plans, but it's not quite that simple. Companies have hidden costs, like a surcharge if you don't use 1,000 Kilowatt-Hours in a month so you just can't get the lowest price per KWH.
Here's a simple three step strategy for finding the best price for you.
Step 1: Find out how much electricity you used each month for the last year.
You can find this by looking at your old bills, or, if you have a smartmeter, visit https://www.smartmetertexas.com .
Here's my chart from SmartMeter.com from last year:
And the details
Step 2: Get the average for the months in these bands: below 500, 500-1000, 1000-2000, above 2000 KWHs.
I had 9 months between 500 and 1000 KWH with an average of 570 KWH, and 3 months above with an average of 1,100 KWH.
Step 3: Call the companies with a rating of four and five stars that seem to have the best rates from PowerToChose.org and ask them to tell you how exactly much a month with your average usage in those bands would be.
(Make sure their numbers include everything except taxes. Two reps on different days from one company quoted me just the "electric charge", and neglected the $9.99 penalty for not reaching 1,000 KWH in a month until I asked if it included that charge.)
Then multiple those monthly rates times the number of months in that band to get your yearly cost.
Here's my spreadsheet. I had 9 months below 1,000 KWH and 3 above.
|Months below |
|Months above |
|Company||Phone Number||Plan Name|
|Green Mountain||(844) 854-2260||Pollution Free Conserve 12 Choice||$38.00||$67.00||$543.00|
|Discount Power||(866) 584-7776||Saver 12||$45.16||$85.00||$661.44|
|Reliant||(855) 350-8650||Reliant Conservation (SM) 12 plan||$45.24||$83.77||$658.47|
|Power Express||877) 400-0232||Sustainable 12||$61.00||$111.15||$882.45|
|Source Power and Gas||(888) 557-0065|
|TXU||(855) 847-6135||Discount Texas Choice (12)||$75.00||$130.00||$1,065.00|
|Smart Discount for 12 months||$65.00||$86.00||$843.00|
|Mid America||(800) 342-3346|
|Ambit||(877) 282-6248||Texas select 6 month term||$52.85||$82.72||$723.81|
|Lone Star Select 6 month||$51.14||$79.42||$698.52|
For my usage patterns the best offer I found was from https://www.greenmountainenergy.com.
Step 4: Have someone else do the heavy lifting. A few options:
A. Spreadsheet at www.xlhelp.com/Excel/Electric.htm . It only works in Excel, and I use a Mac, so I cannot verify if it works, but it does look promising.
B. EnergyChoiceExperts.com will tell you the cheapest plan based on their algorithms. The cost is $35, but can easily save you that money.
C. GeekYourRate.com/ will also calculate your best plan. It's free for a while and they will charge money soon. It's a beautiful website with wonderful graphics and an easy to follow process to get your best rate.
Here's a pic of my results:
1. At the PowerToChose.org web site you can get the exact formula the company uses for the different plans. I tried to calculated what the customer rep should quote me before calling.
2. It appears every company in the OnCor region has to pay OnCor $5.25 base plus
-->$0.036384 per KWH. Many companies charge a rate for electricity in the different bands, e.g., 7.5 cents for each KWH below 1,000 and 9.2 cents for above 1,000 KWH plus a base charge plus the OnCor charges.Other companies have a "bundled rate" and they roll the OnCor charges into a higher per KWH rate.
3. A good article about the process is at www.star-telegram.com
Let me know if you find additional helps in picking providers. I've thought about making a web site to roll all this up into a simple grid. Would that be helpful to you?
[Update: As it turns out my cheapest plan was from Gexa Energy, which both GeekYourRate.com and EnergyChoiceExperts.com found, but I did not research. I would have saved about $80 a year if I'd used their advice.]