Power To Choose: How to Avoid Gimmicks and Find a Good Plan
4minute read• Graham Lumley • Last update February 2024
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What Is PowerToChoose.org?
PowertoChoose.org is an initiative by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) designed to help consumers in Texas understand their electricity options.
The website is an official and unbiased resource where Texas residents can compare different electricity plans and providers in areas of the state where customers can shop the deregulated competitive retail market.
And other plan specifics side by side to make a more informed decision on their energy provider
This platform is part of Texas’ efforts to ensure transparency and competition in the electricity market. They aim to empower consumers with the choice and information to find an electricity plan that best fits their needs.
Unfortunately, powertochoose.org does not always make it very clear which plans are the best choices.
Many providers have figured out how to exploit the site’s simplistic nature with gimmicky plans that appear to offer savings for customers, but really end up charging much more than you would expect.
Looking for an affordable fixed rates with power-packed benefits? Enter your zip code below to shop BKV Energy’s energy plans.
Common Gimmicks to Avoid
Bullseye plans charge wildly different rates when at different levels of electricity consumption.
For example, you may see an Electricity Facts Label that has average prices such as the following:
500 kWh: $0.18 cents per kWh
1000 kWh: $0.12 cents per kWh
2000 kWh: $0.20 cents per kWh
On PowerToChoose.org, the average price at 1000 kWh is highlighted in much larger font compared to the rates at 500 or 2000 kWh.
Many electricity providers in Texas take advantage of this layout by offering a Bullseye plan. This allows them to appear at the top of the listings with a seemingly very low price.
But if you were to use “too much” or “too little” electricity during a billing period, you could end up paying much more than you had expected to.
If you’re able to maintain the right usage to secure the low rate all year round, then a Bullseye plan may be right for you. But given Texas’ high summer temperatures and unpredictable winter weather, it’s unlikely that your usage will remain stable.
How can you make sure not to fall for the Bullseye gimmick? Look carefully at the average prices at all three usage levels and always, always, always check the Electricity Facts Label before signing up for a new plan.
Plans with bill credits may sound great at first – after all, the electricity provider may give you money back! Who wouldn’t want that?
In a similar manner to Bullseye plans, plans with bill credits typically offer widely varying average prices at different usage levels and the bill credit is only applied when you use the right amount of energy.
During billing periods when you use the “wrong” amount of energy, your bill may be much higher than you expected and much higher than it would have been had you signed up for a simple fixed rate plan instead.
To make the most of a bill credit plan, you have to maintain a stable pattern of electricity consumption all year long. As we mentioned previously, this very unlikely due to Texas’ super hot summers and unpredictable winters.
Find the Best Electricity Plan on PowerToChoose.org
Even with its flaws, PowerToChoose.org is still a powerful tool for Texans to compare providers and find affordable energy plans.
Here is our list of expert tips to find the best electricity plan on PowerToChoose.org:
1. Look for Fixed Rate Plans
To lock your rate in for the duration of your contract, always choose a fixed rate plan. Variable rate plans can change each month and typically get very expensive during summer months.
2. Check for High Cancellation Fees
Early termination fees are listed on the right side of the PowerToChoose.org chart. Before enrolling in a plan, look out for those with cancellation fees that are hundreds of dollars regardless of when you decide to terminate a plan.
At BKV Energy, our cancellation is $20 per remaining month on your contract. That means the longer you’re a customer, the less you would need to pay end a plan early. Additionally, with our 30-Day Power Pilot program, we will not assess an early termination fee if you decide to cancel within the first 30 days of your contract.
3. Renewable Energy Percentage
If green energy is important to you, make sure that you find a plan with renewable energy.
At BKV Energy, all of our plans have at least 29% renewable energy, but we also offer very affordable 100% green plans as well.
4. Beware of Gimmicky Plans
Remember to always, always, always check the Electricity Facts Label before signing up for a plan. You may regret signing up for a Bullseye plan or plan with bill credits later on when you receive a hefty electricity bill.
The simplest way to avoid gimmicky plans like this is to select the option on the left side of PowerToChoose.org that reads “Plans without a minimum usage fee/credit and plans without tiered pricing.”
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