How to Switch Electricity Providers in Texas

9 minute read Graham Lumley Last update January 2024

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Switch to a New Electric Company in Texas

Are you trying to save money on your energy bills, moving to a new home, or hoping to do your bit for the environment by switching electricity companies? The good news is that in Texas you can change your electric company at any time.

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Switching energy providers can feel like a daunting process (and let’s be honest, there is some paperwork and planning involved). Luckily, the cost savings and benefits can make the entire process worth your while.

Here’s how it works:

A 6-step checklist of how to switch electricity providers, starting with identifying core needs, to reviewing plans, and concluding on necessary documents.

Texas has an extremely competitive energy market that offers consumers a host of exciting options, plans, and rates, and the power to choose the best provider is literally in your hands. In this article, we’ll show you how to switch providers and find the best deal.

Step 1: Determine What Features Matter to You

Before you begin your search for a new energy provider, it’s important to determine what features matter most to you.

For example, you’ll have the option to choose between simple fixed rates and time-of-use plans.

Simple Fixed Rate Plans

Simple fixed rates are electricity pricing plans where the rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity remains the same regardless of the time of day. In other words, the price you pay for electricity is constant, and you are charged the same rate for each unit of electricity you use. These plans are the easiest to understand, and don’t require customers meet specific usage requirements in order to get a good rate.

Time-of-Use Plans

Time-of-use plans offer different rates for electricity consumption based on the time of day. These plans typically have peak hours when electricity usage is highest, and the rate per kWh during those hours is higher than during off-peak hours when electricity usage is lower. So, if you consume electricity during peak hours, you will pay more per kWh than if you consume it during off-peak hours.

The seemingly lower pricing may lure you in, but if you work from home during the day or use electricity during peak hours, you may end up paying much more for electricity than you would have on the simple fixed rate plan.

You should also consider factors like loyalty programs (that can reduce your bill in the long term) and customer service, as well as the company’s values and commitment to the community, before making a decision.

Step 2: Compare Rates and Plans While Avoiding Expensive Gimmicks

Some providers lure customers in with promotions, like free nights or weekends, low introductory rates that increase after a certain period, or plans with high usage thresholds. On the surface, these plans seem great, but they aren’t for everyone.

Pay close attention to the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) on these plans to understand what the company means by “free” and whether or not you’ll benefit from the incentive.

If the free hours run from 10 pm to 5 am, it’s not going to be easy to shift your high-usage activities to those hours in order to draw the benefit. You probably don’t want to load your dishwasher or dryer at midnight or move all of your energy-heavy chores to the weekend.

The gimmicks to watch out for are:

  • Free nights and free weekends plans
  • Plans with bill credits
  • Plans with base charges
  • EV charging plans

If you have trouble making sense of it all, speak to a knowledgeable provider, like BKV Energy. Our customer services can evaluate your current bill, talk you through the ins and outs of various plans, and provide an honest assessment of our plans to help you find the best rates and plans according to your lifestyle.

Step 3: Find Your Usage for Comparison

You’ll need to do your research by examining your current electric bill and rate and comparing it to the cost of the new energy supplier. This will help you determine which plans will be the most cost-effective for your needs. It’s important to weigh up more than just the prices when making the comparison. Plans can vary dramatically, too.

Step 4: Review Your EFL for Early Termination Fees and Calculate the Cost of Switching Mid-Contract

When reviewing the details of a plan, be sure to carefully review the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) for early termination fees. If you switch to a new energy provider before your contract is up, you may be subject to an early termination fee. Calculate the cost of switching mid-contract to determine whether it’s worth it to make the switch. Long-term cost savings may make up for the initial penalty.

Step 5: Gather Necessary Documents (If Applicable)

In most cases, no documents are required to switch energy providers. If you are moving, you may need to present proof of relocation to avoid a contract breakage fee. It’s a good idea to have proof of identification ready in case you are asked to validate your order.

Step 6: Make the Switch

Once you’ve selected a new energy provider, the process of making the switch is typically very simple.

  • Visit the new provider’s website
  • Select a plan
  • Enter in your account information
  • Select a start date
  • Submit the sign up form

Your new provider will handle the rest of the process, including notifying your current provider and arranging for the switch to take place. That’s it! After completing these steps, you will have successfully switched to a new energy provider in Texas.

Common Questions About Switching Energy Providers

Can you switch power companies in Texas?

Yes, thanks to the deregulated energy market, consumers in Texas have the power to choose their electricity provider.

How long does it take to switch electric providers in Texas?

Switching energy at an established address is a very quick process. The switch typically takes around 3-7 business days to complete, but it can take up to 2-4 weeks in some cases, such as when a new meter has to be installed.

Can you switch electricity suppliers at any time?

Yes, consumers in Texas can switch electricity suppliers at any time. However, you may incur fees or penalties.

How easy is it to switch electric providers in Texas?

Switching electric providers in Texas is relatively easy and can be done online or over the phone in a few simple steps. If you’re under a current contract with a provider, you will usually be responsible for any early termination fees when switching, unless you are moving.

How do you switch electric companies in Texas?

To switch electric companies in Texas, you need to compare plans and rates, select a new provider, and then contact them to start the switch. Be sure your contract has ended or you’ve accounted for early termination fees in your total costs. If you’re moving to a new address, you can see if your provider has service there or you can exit your contract without early termination fees.

Can I switch my utility company in Texas?

In Texas’s deregulated electricity market, customers can switch their REP (retail electricity provider) at any time. However, the utilities that own and maintain the grid own large patches of it, so your utility carrier will not change unless you move out of its territory.

Understanding Energy Provider Switching: What Does it Mean to Switch Suppliers?

Switching electricity providers can be a game-changer for customers who are unhappy with their current provider or want to save money on their energy bills. In Texas, residents have the power to choose their electricity provider thanks to the state’s deregulated energy market. This means that consumers have the freedom to shop around and choose the provider that best meets their needs based on factors such as price, renewable energy options, and customer service.

First, it’s important to understand that in Texas the electricity network is served by several different groups and partners. Your bill will contain charges from both your retail electricity provider (REP) and your local utility company, or TDU. A retail energy provider is a company that sells electricity to consumers, while a utility company is responsible for delivering electricity to homes and businesses.

The retail energy provider purchases power on the wholesale market, (though some, like BKV, also produce power to sell to consumers), offering a range of plans and rates.

The utility company is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and delivering power to consumers. They are regulated by state authorities and TDUs maintain exclusive service territories across different geographic areas. Retail energy providers operate in competitive energy markets, where customers have the power to choose among different providers. So, can you switch your energy provider? Yes, you can switch your electricity company (REP) in Texas, but you cannot switch your utility (TDU).

Is Switching Electricity Companies Worth It? Weighing the Pros and Cons

Whether or not it’s worth switching providers will depend on the needs of your household. Bear in mind that even a small saving on your electric bill will add up quickly over the course of the year, so comparing providers is always a useful exercise.

Of course, there are other benefits to switching providers aside from cost savings.

One of the most significant reasons why consumers consider switching to electricity companies is to obtain better service. While utility companies (also known as transmission and distribution utilities, or TDUs) are responsible for delivering electricity, retail energy providers are responsible for managing the customer experience.

A new energy company could potentially provide better customer service, more reliable billing. Do your research and read reviews before making a switch. Does the provider you are considering have a good reputation for responsiveness and helpfulness? Are they willing to assist you when you’re experiencing a financial crisis?

Some providers, like BKV Energy, prioritize customer service and offer assistance through email, phone, chat, SMS, and even social media to support their customers; others are far more hands-off, and some even charge for access to customer support!

Understanding the basics of how the power grid works can help you make informed decisions about switching providers and whether or not you may benefit from using a different provider. (Check out the Learning Center for more information on the Texas grid and ERCOT).

If your main motivation for switching plans is to save money, make sure that you understand the basics of the various rate plans. Some companies offer promotions or sign-up bonuses that may make switching providers worthwhile, but many of these promotions are little more than impressive-sounding gimmicks. You’ll also need to calculate your early termination fee (ETF) and any costly contract stipulations before making a switch.

If you’re currently locked into a contract with your energy provider, it might make more sense to wait until the contract ends to avoid breakage fees. You can also save money by switching during the off-season (spring and fall) when demand is down and rates are lower. Securing a contract in the off-season for either 12 or 18 months ensures that when your contract ends and it’s time to pick another plan, you’re not starting over in the expensive peak seasons of summer and winter.

What You Should Know Before Switching Energy Providers

Ready to make the switch? Consider these tips for a smooth transition.

  • Check for Fees: Unless you’re on a month-to-month plan, most providers charge an early termination fee if you switch before the end of your contract. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of your current energy plan carefully to understand any potential fees. You will also need to go through a quick credit check before starting service (though you can skip it for a small deposit). Depending on your credit rating and history, you may be required to place a deposit before service can be established.
  • Count Up the Total Cost: When comparing energy plans, pay close attention to the total cost, including any fees or charges. A plan with a lower apparent rate may end up being more expensive if it has additional charges or requires dramatic lifestyle changes to maximize its lower rate periods. Look for plans with transparent pricing and no hidden fees.
  • Can You Switch Back to Your Old Provider?: Once you switch to a new energy provider, you may realize that the plan you chose isn’t the best fit for you. In some cases, you may be able to switch back to your previous provider, but this may come with fees or other restrictions. At BKV Energy, we provide a no hassle, 30 day trial period where you can cancel your service with no early termination charge – just pay for the electricity used and you’re done.
  • When in Doubt, Opt for a Trial: Before switching, make sure to understand the terms and conditions of the new plan, including the length of the contract, the rates at different consumption levels and any bill credit or time of use tiers that have to be met, as well as any penalties for early termination. If you’re unsure about a plan, consider choosing a shorter contract term or a provider with a trial period, like BKV Energy.
  • Address Debts: If you have an outstanding balance with your current energy provider, it’s important to address this before switching to a new provider. Some providers may refuse to start service if you have unpaid debt with a previous provider. In Texas, your current provider has the right to place a “switch hold” on the account to avoid customers from jumping from one company to the next without settling the bill. This can create some difficulty for customers with long-term, variable rate plans as it may lead to unpredictable bills. Fixed rate plans allow for easier budgeting.
  • New Home, Past Due Bill: If you’re moving into a new home and the previous tenant had an outstanding balance with the energy provider, you may be subject to a switch hold. You’ll need to fill out some paperwork known as a New Occupant Statement and provide a copy of your lease, an affidavit from your Landlord and a few recently paid electric bills from your previous address to prove that you are a new tenant. Check with the energy provider to see if there are any outstanding balances tied to the address before switching service into your name. Keep records of all communications with the energy provider to avoid any disputes or misunderstandings later on.

What Happens After You Switch Electric Providers?

After you switch electric providers, you’ll receive a confirmation notice from your new provider acknowledging your enrollment, along with information regarding the terms and conditions of your new plan. Your old provider will send you a final bill which will include any outstanding balances or credits owed to you.

Your new provider will start providing electricity to your home on the date specified in your enrollment confirmation. It is important to review your new bill to ensure that the rates, fees, and terms are what you agreed to.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact your new provider’s customer service department for assistance.

Conclusion

Switching electric companies in Texas is easier than you may think. Sure, it requires a little research and shopping around to find the best possible provider, but the money you can save on your bill every month (and the peace of mind you’ll have knowing you have a supplier that is always ready to assist you) will make the entire process worth your while.

If you are interested in changing electricity providers, get in touch with BKV Energy. There are no hidden fees, no vague terms, no rate surprises, and no gimmicks. Just honest, reliable energy at affordable rates.