Texas Electricity Guide
Energy Choice, Electric Providers & Rates
Texas Electricity Guide: What Energy Choice Means to You
In the past, Texans bought their electricity from a local utility that was often the only choice in town. Utilities had very little incentive to keep rates low or go the extra mile for customers. Today, Texas is one of a growing number of states with a competitive energy market that allows residents to purchase power from retail electricity providers or suppliers. Competitive markets are also referred to as deregulated energy markets. A competitive marketplace can have positive results for customers as competing energy providers offer a variety of plans and rates.
What is Energy Choice?
Energy choice gives Texans the freedom to choose their electricity provider instead of being required to purchase power directly from the local electric utility. Competition among energy providers can drive down rates, spur the creation of new electric plans and lead to improvements in customer service.
Retail Electric Providers vs. Utilities in Texas
A retail electric provider or supplier such as Constellation purchases power on the wholesale market and sells it to customers. The utility is still responsible for delivering energy to your home, tracking your energy usage and maintaining the electric wires. With a choice of retail electric providers in one market, competition is possible that would not be with a single utility selling power to homes and businesses.
Types of Electricity Plans in Texas
There are two popular types of electricity plans in Texas:
- Fixed-rate electricity plans: Customers lock in the price per unit of energy for the duration of the contract. In other words, you pay a fixed price for each kilowatt hour regardless of when you use it. These plans can protect you from price fluctuations due to demand, seasonality, and other factors beyond your control.
- Variable-rate electricity plans: The price per kilowatt hour can change on a variable rate plan. That means you may pay more for power during periods of high demand, such as a hot Texas summer. Variable-rate plans usually run month-to-month which may make it difficult to estimate or budget for your energy costs.
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Texas Renewable Energy Plans
Texas is no stranger to high winds, and renewable energy advocates have taken note. Wind turbines dot the Lone Star State’s landscape and provide clean energy to millions of Texans. According to the American Wind Energy Association, Texas has the most installed wind power capacity of any state.
Constellation believes in providing clean energy solutions to its customers, which is why we offer electricity plans that source 100% of your power from wind.
Energy Conservation Tips for Texans
While electricity makes our way of life possible, we don’t often think about how much energy we use. You can’t see power flowing from your outlets and into your appliances and devices, so it’s not surprising that most people only think of electricity consumption when reviewing their monthly bill. However, being smart about energy use can help your household energy budget and be good for the environment. Here are several tips to help you conserve electricity:
- Buy energy-efficient appliances. Conservation doesn’t require major sacrifices. Choosing an energy-efficient refrigerator or washing machine, such as those with Energy Star? ratings, can go a long way to reducing your electricity consumption and costs.
- Unplug electronics when not in use. Your TV, computer, printer or other favorite electronic device could still be consuming power even when it’s turned off. Known as phantom load or standby power, it’s essentially like leaving a faucet on in your bathroom. You can solve the problem by unplugging the device or powering off the power strip.
- Check your doors and windows for leaks. You’d be surprised at how much air can escape from your home due to drafty windows and doors. This means your air conditioner or heater must work harder to keep you comfortable, and that could mean higher electric bills. Texas experiences weather extremes, so it’s important to make sure weather stripping and insulation are doing their jobs.
- Choose a renewable energy plan. As mentioned above, Constellation offers plans that draw 100% of their power from wind turbines. Selecting a clean energy plan reduces pollution and shrinks your home’s carbon footprint.
- Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. Your dad was right: leaving lights on when nobody’s in the room is a waste of money and power. Simply flip the switch on your way out the door.