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When it Comes to Electricity Rates, Houston is Rated High

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[Tara Energy posted on  2/16/2016]


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There is a lot to be said for living in Houston Texas. It is a big city with a lot of opportunities for work, to enjoy culture and the good life. The cost of living here is more than reasonable, the housing market is stable, and the job market is healthy.



As consumers, Houstonians have numerous choices when it comes to goods and services. Nothing illustrates this better than the choices we have for retail electricity providers. There are a large number of reputable electric companies in business here, and competition is the name of the game. Most of these companies offer some incentive programs to entice new customers. However, the nuts and bolts of the matter come down to pricing. Electricity providers in Houston, for the most part, offer excellent customer service. They also provide a variety of payment methods and online bill tracking, as well as other services. So in the final analysis, the choice usually lays with the company that offers the best rates and the best plans. That may not always be the best way to go. If you are considering changing providers, you may be interested in the following list of things that are often the source of confusion for consumers. These are things that you should understand about electricity rates before you make a final decision:

Understanding Electricity Usage

The amount of electricity that you use depends on a number of factors. One important thing to consider is whether you live in a house or an apartment. Having an all electric home or a home that is split between electricity and natural gas can make a difference as well. Other factors include how many people are living in your home, the individual use of appliances and how much effort is made to reduce costs. Typically, a provider in Houston will charge a rate based on a kilowatt per hour usage. The rate may be different for using less than 1000 kilowatt hours than it is for using over 2000. Keep these factors in mind when you are shopping for a provider or plan.

Flexibility in Types of Plans

You have a choice of a variable or fixed rate plan. Both have ramifications for your monthly charges, and both have advantages and disadvantages. It is best to consider your budget to determine which type is better for your situation. In a nutshell; on a fixed rate plan, you will pay the same amount per kilowatt hour for the duration of the contract. A variable rate can change by the day, week or month, depending on market prices. If the market price increases, your rate may go up. Likewise, if the market price decreases, your rate may go down. As we mention in greater detail below, your contact expiration could have an impact on your monthly price, so make sure you know when the term is up, and plan accordingly.

Minimum Use Fees

Some providers (not all) have a system of charges in place based on minimum usage. If you fall below a predetermined amount of electricity usage in a month, which varies from company to company, you are charged a fee. This is an excellent reason to track your usage and be aware of any penalty for not using the minimum amount. Again, not all providers charge for minimum usage, and they likely disclose that fact on their website. If this information cannot be found on their site, you can find what you need in a document each company provides called the Electricity Facts Label. This is essentially the fine print of a plan, which you should read it thoroughly before you sign a contract with any provider.  

Delivery Charges Confusion

Delivery charges seem to cause a bit of confusion among customers of retail electric provider. The retail providers simply resell the electricity to you at a discount. The main utility company is responsible for creating the power and delivering it to you. They also maintain the power grid and the infrastructure of generators, power lines, poles, and everything else that is needed so you can turn on lights and power up your computers. The charge for these services is independent of the retail provider, who has no control over this aspect of your bill. Regardless of which provider you select, you may not have a monthly charge if the rate is bundled.

Contract Expiration Date and What That Means for You

According to law, a retail provider must give you (for residential and small commercial) notice when your contract expires, but this may only be the form of a statement on your bill, and it may not be in a prominent place. If you miss it and let your contract expire, you could be put on a monthly plan, and your rate would likely increase by a considerable amount. Make sure that you are aware of the expiration date before this happens so that you can start shopping for a new plan before your contract is up. Since we are on the subject of contracts, most providers will charge you a cancellation fee for terminating your contract early. There may be mitigating circumstances, for example if you move to an area that your provider doesn’t cover, but for any other reason, you will likely be charged.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, Houston is truly a magnificent metropolis. It is a city made even more attractive by the lifestyle and cost of living. As far as opportunity goes, the sky is the limit. If you shop smart and compare retail electricity providers, the same won’t be said of your electricity rates.

Source :

https://www.texaselectricrates.com
http://www.powertochoose.org
https://www.business.directenergy.com/blog/2015/may/what-is-the-role-of-the-utility-versus-a-retail-energy-provider



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