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Finding you the best energy plans

How to compare electricity plans

Apr 07 2021

If you are new to Texas, the electricity market here may be puzzling. In deregulated areas of Texas, electricity customers shop for the right plan from a variety of providers in the market. This competitive market was designed to spur innovative electricity plans that help serve customers better.

For newcomers unfamiliar with shopping for electricity, choosing the right plan can be intimidating. We’ve put together this list of terms and details to help you select a plan and a provider with confidence.

How to pick the best electricity plan

Confirm your current contract

Do you already have an electricity contract? Don’t switch electricity providers before confirming your current contract period. If your current plan is not yet up for renewal, you might be subject to a cancellation fee if you switch. Most electricity providers will not charge the cancellation fee if you are moving, but if you switch to another provider before your contract is complete, there will likely be a cancellation fee on your last bill. Check your plan details on your providers website, or look at you electricity bill to see if there’s a contract binding you to your current provider.

How much electricity do you use?

Head over to your account online or check your bill to determine the amount of electricity you consume every month. While your usage will likely be higher at certain times of the year, knowing your range of usage will help you select the best plan while you are shopping. Most electricity websites in Texas show Average Price per kWh at Usage Levels of 500, 1000 and 2000. If you know where your usage sits within those levels, it will be easier to compare plans.

While you are looking at your usage, get a feel for your monthly bill and how it varies at times of the year so you can compare options to what you have now. In Texas, most of us use more electricity in summer, while we are running our air conditioning. But winter usage often depends on whether you have gas or electric heat. It’s worth saying that electricity prices rise and fall during the year due to market conditions. There’s no guarantee that rates when you are shopping will be in the same range as they were last time you signed up.

What term length do you prefer?

Texas electricity market has a huge variety of term durations that differ in price points. If you’re looking for stability in prices, long-term contracts will meet your needs. On the other hand, shorter durations don’t tie you to an extended commitment. The most common plan duration is 12 months, but those that don’t enjoy shopping for electricity often select longer plans, to lock in a price and push off having to shop again. As long as you are getting a rate you like, there’s no real downside to a longer term length. If you are renting a home, it can be handy to match the term length to your rental agreement.

Determine if you want a fixed or variable rate

Most plans in deregulated power market come at either fixed or variable rates. 

Fixed rates are sometimes called Secure or Term. These provide you with a fixed price for the length of your contract. They provide price security, but they usually have a cancellation fee if you switch away before the term is up. The cancellation fee is usually not applicable if you move.

Variable rate plans are sometimes called Flex plans or Month To Month plans. In this arrangement, there is no term length and you can switch providers anytime. However, your electricity rate can change each month. These plans don’t lock you into a commitment, so they are great for consumers that are in a short-term situation.

Plans with extra

Most electricity providers have a wide range of plans. You may see plans with rewards or incentives – like cool technical gadgets or gift certificates or sports memorabilia. These plans may cost a little more, but you might find a great perk – like a signed football jersey.

Some of the perks can be altruistic. Several providers have plans that include making a charitable donation when you sign up. Reliant Energy has a

If these types of plans appeal to you, Everything Energy has filters to help you find plans with an incentive.

Compare electricity plans & providers

You can go to popular Retail Electricity Providers’ sites to shop individually. You’ll get lots of information, but it can be time consuming to shop each provider one at a time. You can also check Texas’ state-run Power to Choose website, and other relevant websites. Since you are here, check out our comparison engine. We partner with reliable, and trusted electricity providers with long histories of great customer service. Everything Energy makes it easy to shop these REPs with a wide diversity of plan selections. We’ve got helpful filters to help you narrow down your search based on plan types and term lengths, so you can see only the plans you are interested in. Finding the best electricity rate for your family has never been easier.

Where ever you choose to shop, look for these details:

Average Price per kWh: this is the all-in price you would pay at a given usage level – sites usually display 500, 1000, 2000. The price factors in the cost of the electricity, delivery charges from the utility company, and taxes and surcharges. Note that the taxes and surcharges can change over time.

Usage Level Selector: As noted above, most sites will display price at a couple usage levels – set it at the level closest to your usage to see pricing most relevant to your home.

Rate Type & Cancellation fee: Once you know which plan type you prefer, you can search and filter based on this information.

Go through the Electricity Facts Label (EFL)

EFL (similar to a Nutrition Facts Label) of each plan that your chosen provider offers allows you to ascertain your consumption’s price point. If you need help understanding a plan’s EFL, we have a guide for you.

What’s the TDSP charge?

While REPs sell you the electricity and bill you for what you use, the local utility company delivers the power over the lines and meters they maintain. The utility companies, also called Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP), own and maintain the poles, wires, and meters. They’re also responsible for reading the meters and reporting usage for each meter to the REP, who does the billing.

The charges from these utilies are passed on to the consumer via their electricity bill, and are known as the TDSP charge. In Texas, the TDSPs have to get permission from the PUC to raise their rates. This does happen occasionally, and when it does, even customers on a contract will see a higher average price on their bill once the new TDSP charge is factored in. The TDSP charge is calculated into the Average Price per kWh.

These TDSP charges apply to all electricity customers in the ulitity area, regardless of which REP the customer is with. So you can’t get out of this fee by changing REPs. The TDSP will usually bill this charge to your REP, who will, in turn, indicate it on your bill without any markup. To view TDSP charges from Texas Utility Providers in deregulated areas, click here to see a great resource from Cirro Energy.

What if I Change my Mind after Signing Up?

You can ask your power provider to cancel your enrollment within three business days from when they delivered the Terms of Service agreement to you, whether you got the deal in the mail or signed it online. You’ll then receive a confirmation to cancel your plan (alongside the information on how to cancel) through the mail.

According to the state directives, your retail electricity provider should allow you between 3 to 14 days to cancel the plan without charging you any penalty. If you do so after this period has elapsed, you may pay the cancellation fee. 

Wrapping Up

You now have an idea on how to shop around for the best electricity plan. If you are ready to shop, it’s as easy as entering your zip code to see the best electricity plans in your area.

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What is a Time Of Use Electricity Plan?

Apr 07 2021


  • Time of Use plans are designed to reduce demand on the electric grid during peak usage.
  • They do this by incenting customers to shift their usage to off-peak times, by offering a lower price for electricity.
  • You can save a lot of money on your electric bill if your usage matches the plan.
Modern home at dusk with all the lights on.

How does a Time of Use electricity plan work?

Traditional electricity plan have a fixed rate that applies to all your electricity use during the billing period. You pay the same rate for your electricity regardless of the time of day or the season you are in. However, time of use electricity plans (TOU) have a variable rate that might be higher during peak hours of day, and lower during times of lower usage. Reliant Energy offers a ‘Free Nights’ and a ‘Free Weekends’ plan, for example, and Green Mountain Energy offers several plans with discounted rates at night, when you are most likely to be charging an electric vehicle.

Time of Use plans are designed to reduced demand on the electricity grid during peak hours. Residential electricity use rises in the morning as people wake up, and wanes as they go to work, rising again in the early evening as people come home and turn on lights, cook dinner, run dishwashers. There are also seasonal shifts – electricity use is much higher on summer afternoons in Texas when all our air conditioners are battling the heat. TOU plans were designed to encourage electricity customers to shift usage to times when there is less demand, with a lower price being their reward for conserving during peak hours. Customers that are able to shift usage can save money on their electricity bill with a TOU plan.

How to save money with a Time of Use Electricity Plan

When reviewing a TOU plan, understand the peak and off-peak hours. Each TOU plan has it’s own distinct usage hours. Peak hours are the most expensive days of the day for billing since everyone uses electricity at that time. Off-peak hours are cheaper because electricity usage is lower. If you can shift usage to the off-peak hours, these plans may save you money on your electric bill. For example, if you are never home on the weekends to take advantage of a plan with lower-priced electricity on Saturday and Sunday, you may not be able to take advantage of the benefits. If you have an electric vehicle, charging during off-peak night hours can save you a lot money. Use this information while shopping for your electricity plan and find the right electricity plan to suit your family’s lifestyle.

Understand the billing plan from your electricity provider; While you may be trying to shift your usage to low-cost hours, you’ll still pay for the electricity you use during peak hours. Be sure to understand what you are being charged during peak hours. It’s important to read the energy facts label when shopping for your plan, which will help you understand what the peak hours cost and keep you from getting surprised.

Navigate lifestyle changes to fit into off-peak hours. Once you understand the off-peak hours and rates of a potential electricity plan, think about how much you can shift your electricity usage into those hours. Can you do all your laundry on the weekend, to take advantage of Free Weekends? Instead of running the dishwasher right after dinner, can you wait until you go to bed, and take advantage of Free Nights? If you have a swimming pool, can you run the pool pump and cleaners during lower-cost hours? The average energy charge displayed on the website includes a certain percentage of usage during each rate period. You can see this number on the plan’s EFL. Look for something like: Average price calculation is based on consumption profile over 12 months of 42% of consumption at
nighttime as defined below. If you can shift your usage, so that you use more that that percentage of your electricity during that period, you’ll pay less than the advertised Average Price per kWh at that usage level.

How do I pick the right electricity plan?

Time of Use plans can definitely save you money if your usage fits the right curve, or if you are able to shift your usage to those lower-price hours. These plans also help keep the electric grid stable by reducing demand that stresses the grid during peak hours. Piqued your interest? Check out the Time of Use plans from our reliable providers.

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How to compare electricity plans by reading the EFL

Apr 07 2021

An EFL or Electricity Facts Label is a lot like the nutrition label on the back of food products at the grocery store. When you pick up a can of corn and turn it to the back, you can read about everything that the can has inside it. The EFL is the same way. It will tell you everything that is inside a particular electricity plan from a particular provider. The EFL is am important tool to help you compare electricity plans.

Lady shopping at a laptop.

What is an EFL?

An Electricity Facts Label is a document that electricity providers are required to provide to the public. It helps to break down every part of a retail energy provider’s electricity plans. This way, you can make sure you understand what’s in a plan and why it matters in terms of what you’ll pay and what you get.

EFLs have standard components so that all companies offering plans provide the same information – even though it might look slightly different. This allow you to easily compare energy plans of all electricity providers. This is specifically standardized in Texas for deregulated areas by the PUCT (Public Utility Commission of Texas).

How does an EFL help you compare electricity plans?

To compare electricity plans, you have to understand the details of each plan you are looking at.

At the top of the EFL you’re going to see information like the name of the REP, the name of the plan, and the date this EFL went into effect.

How to compare the price of electricity plan

In the Pricing Disclosure, you will see a breakdown of all the components of the Average Price. Energy charge is what the REP charges for actual electricity. You may see a base charge or usage charge, which are monthly fees from the REP. If they are included in the price of the plan, they have to be listed here. So, if you don’t see those, they don’t apply to your plan.

The pricing disclosure will also include Delivery Charges from the company that owns the poles & wires in your area. Those utilities charge their fees to the REP, who passes them to consumers each month. These fees are fixed by the PUC, and you can’t change them by looking for a different plan or REP. Delivery charges could be per month, per kWH, or both. You can learn more about TDSP charges from this post.

You’ll also see here the Average Price per kWh, listed at three usage levels: 500, 1000, 2000. This average price factors in all the elements of price, and determines what a customer would pay per kWh at each of those usage levels. That number is an easy way to compare electricity prices across different electricity providers and plans.

On average, Texans used about 1,140 kWh per month in 2019. Remember that your usage probably varies month to month, so make sure to understand your usage over the year and look at the pricing for those levels.

Other Plan Details in the EFL

Towards the bottom of the EFL, you’re going to see details about the plan It’s often in a question format, but not always. You’ll see information related to whether the plan is a fixed rate or variable and the term length, for example.

In other words, you can see whether the plan has its rate change from month to month or whether it’s always the same. You’ll also see how long your contract will go for, called the “contract term.”

There could be data about the “termination fee” if you want to quit your contract before it expires. Many providers may actually waive this fee if you show them that you’re actually moving away.

You’ll see a question related to whether your price can change during the contract period. Usually, the fact sheet will indicate that the answer is “yes,” it can change. The next line indicates why and how your price could change. Even fixed price plans can have price changes if the PUC allows the TDSP to increase their rates, which are factored into the price.

This section of the EFL also includes information on how much renewable energy the plan contains.

Summing Up

The EFL is a very helpful guide when shopping for electricity and we definitely encourage you to review while you are comparing electricity plans. By learning to read the EFL, you understand the exact rates for the electricity plans available in your area, and it will be easy to compare one plan’s rates to the rate from another plan. You’ll be able to see what their tiered plans look like and whether plan A has a lower starting rate for the first tier up to 1000 kWh than plan B. Which one is best for you will depend on how much your household actually uses, so this is important to keep in mind when you’re reading all of these different sheets. Learning to do so will greatly increase your understanding of the situation. If you want to learn more about comparing electricity plans, check out this guide.

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Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Apr 07 2021

As society becomes more aware of the effect carbon emissions are having on climate change, federal, state, and local governments around the world are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Several cities in Texas joined thousands around the world and signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Austin City Council has also pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

While government action will be key in helping to reverse the effects of global warming, individual action will also be critical in helping to reduce carbon emissions. Fortunately, there are a variety of steps that you can take to drastically reduce your household’s carbon footprint. Incorporating a few green initiatives into your routine could go a long way in helping your community to reduce its carbon emissions. Here is a look at just a few of the things that you can do to significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

Unplug unused devices

One of the simplest things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to unplug your electronic devices when they are not in use. What many people do not realize is that electronics continue to draw a small amount of power when they are plugged in even if they are powered off. In fact, phone and laptop chargers will continue to draw power when plugged in even if they are not connected to a device. While the amount of power these devices and chargers use may seem insignificant, it can quickly add up. In the U.S. alone, this “vampire power” uses up to $19 billion in energy each year. To cut down on your carbon footprint, simply get in the habit of only plugging in chargers, devices, and appliances when you are actively using them. 

Drive less

Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to drive less. Every time you make the conscious decision to leave the car home and walk, bike, or take public transportation to your destination, you are immediately reducing your carbon footprint. In particular, walking to close destinations such as dinner out can help the planet while also providing an easy way for you to incorporate additional exercise into your routine. Of course, if you aren’t in the mood to walk, public transportation still helps reduce carbon emissions as more transit authorities are turning to green power sources including electric and natural-gas vehicles. In fact, it is estimated that a person who switches from commuting 20 miles alone by car to taking public transportation every day can reduce their annual CO2 emissions by 48,000 pounds per year. That represents a 10% reduction in carbon emissions for many two-car households.   

Consider buying carbon offsets

Of course, there is only so much that you can do personally to make a real impact on climate change, which may leave you feeling frustrated and wanting to do more for the environment. If so, you may want to consider buying carbon offsets. A carbon offset is a means by which you can compensate for your carbon emissions by helping to fund projects/programs that reduce carbon emissions elsewhere. For instance, if you pay to offset one ton of carbon, the offset will help to capture or destroy one ton of greenhouse gasses that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere. If your job requires you to drive or fly on a regular basis and there is only so much that you can do personally to reduce your carbon emissions, buying carbon offsets can help to compensate for this and reduce or eliminate your carbon footprint.

If you are interested in buying carbon offsets as a way to reduce your carbon footprint, we recommend you check out the options at picknrgoffsets.com

Plant a garden

Gardening enthusiasts will be happy to learn that planting a garden can help to further reduce your carbon footprint. As you likely already know, plants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which is an extremely useful symbiotic relationship for humans. Thusly, the more plants you add to your garden, balcony, or windowsill, the more your carbon footprint will be offset. Consider adding some bee-friendly flowers to help threatened bee populations. You can also plant a vegetable garden to help reduce your grocery bill. 

In addition to offsetting carbon emissions, planting a garden if you live in the city can also help to reduce the “urban heat island” effect. This is essentially localized warming that is taking place in urban areas due to the fact that there are more paved areas than in rural areas. Plants can then help to mitigate this effect and provide cooling by absorbing excess heat.      

Eat local produce

You can also reduce your carbon footprint, and help the local economy, by buying local produce whenever possible. When you buy produce that isn’t locally in season, it has likely been shipped in from elsewhere; possibly from another country. This can have a profound effect on carbon emissions, as food may be taking a journey around the world to reach your dinner table. It is then important that you try to buy in-season products from local grocers, as well as farmers’ markets in your neighborhood, to ensure that your food is traveling as short of a distance as possible. You should also try to buy organic produce, as these products haven’t been sprayed with pesticides and chemicals that are toxic to the environment (in addition to being bad for your health).  

Line dry your clothes

One of the biggest changes you should consider making in your home to reduce your carbon footprint is to stop using your dryer as much as possible. Opting to go with the traditional line-dry method of drying your clothes is much better for the environment, as dryers are actually one of the top energy-consuming appliances in your home. While line-drying may take some getting used to, and it can seem like an unnecessary hassle if you have never line-dried clothing before, doing so can go a long way in protecting the environment. Furthermore, line-drying has the added benefit of being better for your clothes, as tumble drying causes wear-and-tear, shortening the life of fabrics.  

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