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What You Need To Know About the TXU AutoSaver Plan

Shopping for a cheap electricity rate in Texas is a tricky business.  Most electricity plans in Texas feature rate formulas rather than actual guaranteed rates.  The TXU AutoSaver plan is no exception.  At the end of the day, your actual electricity rate will depend on several factors; some of which are outside of your control.

Here we outline the details of this new plan and compare it to plans available from Gexa and TriEagle Energy.

The TXU Autosaver plan is advertised as a way to allow consumers to benefit from any drop in natural gas prices while protecting them from rising prices beyond a certain level.

The electricity rate in the TXU Autosaver 12 plan is tied to the price of natural gas.  As the primary source of fuel for electricity in Texas, natural gas drives much of the pricing of electricity. It should be noted that this plan comes at a time when natural gas prices are already near historical lows.  The plan features a price cap feature that puts an upper limit on the electricity rate once natural gas hits a price of $3.50/MMBtu.  At the time of this writing, that is about double the current price of natural gas.

 

Historical Price of Natural Gas

Natural Gas Historical Price Chart

 

What is the electricity rate on the TXU AutoSaver Plan?

The rate customers pay for this plan is based on a complicated formula that includes a “Natural Gas Factor”.  This allows the rate on the plan to fluctuate based on the monthly closing price for natural gas.  The plan also includes a flat monthly charge of $9.95, a Base Rate of 7.4¢ per kWh, and TDU pass through fees.

Here is how that looks:

Base Rate (per kWh) 7.4¢
Base Charge (per Month) $9.95
Natural Gas Charge (per kWh) 1.995¢
Flat Pass-through Delivery Charge $3.42
Pass-through Delivery Charge per kWh 3.5778¢
Total Average Rate (1000 kWh) 14.3¢/kWh

* For this illustration we used the pricing for the Oncor delivery area which includes the Dallas / Fort Worth area.  Different parts of the state have different rates. We will also assume a natural gas price of $1.50/MMBtu

The above data is pull from the plan’s Electricity Facts Label on July 14. 2020

TXU Autosaver EFL

Is the TXU AutoSaver Plan a Good Deal?

The plan does have an upside cap that prevents the Natural Gas Charge from going above 4.655¢.  This puts an upside limit on your effective electricity rate of 17.0¢ per kWh if you use 1000 kWh in a billing cycle.

But let’s consider a mathematically best case scenario where natural gas prices go to zero.  This is not a realistic real world scenario, but it allows us to see the absolute lower bounds of the electricity rate under this plan.

Base Rate (per kWh) 7.4¢
Base Charge (per Month) $9.95
Natural Gas Charge (per kWh)
Flat Pass-through Delivery Charge $3.42
Pass-through Delivery Charge per kWh 3.5778¢
Total Average Rate (1000 kWh) 12.3¢/kWh

Even at a zero cost of natural gas, this plan would still have an all-in electricity rate of 12.3¢ per kWh for the 1000 kWh usage level in the Oncor delivery area.  At the time of this writing, there are plans available with advertised rates below 6.0¢ at 1000 KWh usage in the Oncor delivery area.

To be fair, these plans have their own potential drawbacks.  Many of them rely on usage credits that kick in right around 1000 kWhs of usage to create a best case rate scenario right at 1000 kWh.  If your actual usage falls outside of this range your effective all-in electricity rate could be much higher than the advertised rate.  This is illustrated in the chart below.  You can see that the effective rate for the Gexa Saver Deluxe 12 Plan drops substantially at 1000 kWhs of use but jumps sharply once usage exceeds 2000 kWh.  This is because the usage credit only applies to usages that fall between 1000 and 2000 kWhs.

So how does the TXU AutoSaver plan compare to plans with a simpler structure?

Trieagle Energy, a company known for less complicated rate plans currently has a plan available for 9.7¢ per kWh at the 1000 kWh usage level.  This plan doesn’t rely on usage credits and isn’t indexed to the price of natural gas. This means your actual rate is going to be close to the advertised rate once your bill arrives.

Bottom Line

It’s very easy for a consumer of electricity in Texas to get stuck in the weeds trying figure out what is the cheapest electricity plan for them.  The plans are usually complicated, and the numbers can be overwhelming.  Below we have developed a chart that compares the TXU AutoSaver Plan to plans from Gexa and Triangle.  You can see at a glance what you might expect to pay for electricity based on how much electricity you use.  It also serves as an illustration of just how volatile electricity rates can be even under a single plan.

TXU vs Gexa and Trieagle kWh

This chart shows what your actual bill would be based on the same data.

TXU Gexa Trieagle cost

Gexa 3-Day Weekend Plan, What You Need to Know

It seems that most Texas electric companies are now offering time-of-use plans that offer different electricity rates depending on when you use your electricity.  The concept was first popularized in Texas by TXU Energy with their Free Nights plan. TXU has since offered several variations on the theme, including their most recent TXU Free Pass plan which offers free electricity on the 7 days each month when your power usage is greatest.  Gexa Energy is now advertising their own version of a free electricity plan with the Gexa Energy 3 Day Weekend Plan.  So how does this plan compare to the competition?

How does the Gexa 3-Day Weekend plan work?

Compared to other similar plans, the Free 3-Day Weekends plan is simple.  All of your electricity usage for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of every week is free.  This means that there is no energy charge from Gexa or pass through fees from your distribution utility (Oncor in Dallas or Centerpoint in Houston) for weekend usage.  Technically, the free period runs from 12:00 a.m. Friday to 12:00 a.m. Sunday

What is the electricity rate on the Gexa 3 Day Weekend plan?

As with any such plan, the electricity rate for the non-free portion of the plan must be high enough to still make the plan profitable for the electric company.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t sell the plan.  If you live in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington or anywhere in the Oncor delivery area, you will be paying an energy charge of 16.6¢ per kWh on Monday – Thursday.  In addition to this, you will pay pass-through charges from the utility company that delivers the power in your area (Oncor).  This will add another 3.135¢ per kWh, bringing your total electricity rate up to 19.7¢ per kWh during these periods.  You will also be charged a monthly fee of $9.95 from Gexa and $3.42 from Oncor.

Gexa advertises an average rate of 12.6¢ per kWh for 1,000kWh of electricity.  This assumes that 43% of your energy usage occurs Friday-Sunday.

Gexa 3-day weekend ETF

Note: The electricity rates mentioned above are for the Dallas/Fort Worth Area as of 4/14/2019.  Enter your zip  code above to see all of the current rates for Gexa and other electric companies for your area.

Is the Gexa 3 Day Weekend Plan a good deal?

This very much depends on how you use your electricity and if you are willing to shift your activities to make the best use of the free electricity periods.  The 12.6¢ per kWh for 1,000kWh is more expensive than most other plans currently available from Gexa and other electricity providers.  If you are up for the challenge, however, you can try to cram as much of your electricity usage as possible into the weekend period.  You can do your laundry on the weekends but, with summer approaching in Texas, air conditioning will be the main driver of your electricity bill.  If you are mostly away from home during the week, you could set your thermostat higher when you are away from home.

How does the Gexa 3 Day Weekend Plan Compare to TXU’s Free Pass Plan?

The two plans are pretty similar.  The electricity rate during the non-free periods are almost identical.  However, the Gexa plan offers 12 to 13 free days of electricity per month compared to the 7 free days offered in the TXU Free Pass Plan.  Under the TXU plan, the free days are guaranteed to be your highest usage days.  But these are likely to be weekend days anyway.  The advertised average electricity rates at 1000 kWhs are cheaper for the Gexa 3 Day Weekend Plan than the TXU’s Free Pass 12 Plan.

What else do I need to know about the Gexa 3-Day Weekend Plan?

  • The plan comes with a 12 month contract
  • The cancelation fee for the plan is $150
  • Gexa offers a 60 day guarantee.  If you are not happy with the plan, Gexa will switch you to another one of their plans and waive the cancelation fee.

Filed under: Gexa 3-Day Weekends Plan

What you need to know about the Bounce Energy Fantastic Fixed 6 Plan

The Fantastic Fixed 6 plan has long been a popular plan offered by Bounce Energy.  As of the time of this writing, it features one of the cheapest electricity rates available in Texas.  Electricity rates in Texas are quite volatile, however.  Before choosing this or any other plan you should compare electricity rates from providers in your area to find the plan that works best for you.

Electricity Rates for Bounce Energy Fantastic Fixed 6

For the Houston area, the all-in rate for the Fantastic Fixed 6 plan is 9.2¢ per kWh for usage levels of 2,000 kWh per month.  If you live in an apartment you should expect to pay a higher average rate for this plan.  The published rate for the 500 kWh usage level is 10.7¢ per kWh.  This rate will be different if you live in another part of Texas.  To see the current rate for this and other plans in your area, enter your zip code above.

By the standards of electricity plans in Texas, this plan has a simple pricing structure.  The components that go in to the average rate are listed below:

Bounce Energy Charge (per kWh) 4.4¢
Bounce Base Charge $4.95
Flat Pass Through Delivery Charge $5.47
Pass Through Delivery Charge per kWh 4.254¢
Total Average Rate 9.2¢/kWh

*Rates are for Houston area as of 9/27/2018. Use the Vaultelectricity.com real time electricity rate comparison tool to see current rates in your area.

Bounce Energy Fantastic Fixed 6 EFL

The important numbers to note are the 4.4¢ Energy charge and the $4.95 base charge.  These charges are specific to Bounce Energy.  The TDU delivery charges are pass-through charges that you will have to pay regardless of the electricity provider you choose.  Unlike many other plans, Fantastic Fixed 6 Plan has no hidden price bumps based on how much electricity you use (or don’t use).

 

Bounce Energy vs. Other Texas Electricity Providers

Here is how the electricity rate for the Bounce Energy Fantastic Fixed 6 Plan compares to the plans from other Texas electricity providers.

Bounce Energy Rates

Rewards

This plan is eligible for the Bounce Energy Rewards program.

Cancellation Fee

This plan has a cancellation fee of $135

Champion Champ Saver 12 Plan – A Closer Look

The Champion Energy Champ Saver 12 is a very popular plan on Vaultelectricity.com.  The plan not only has a low rate but it has the simplest, most straight forward pricing structure you are likely to find among Texas electricity plans.  This means, unlike many other plans, the customer is likely to realize an average price per kWh (kilowatt hour) very close to the rates Champion publishes at all usage levels.  This is because the plan has no tiers and no credits or fees that kick in at certain usage levels.  The rate at 500 kWh is about the same as the rates for 1,000 kWh and 2,000 kWh.

The pricing of this plan has only 2 components.

  1. Delivery Charge from the TDU
  2. Champion Energy Charges

The first charge is a Pass Through Delivery Charge that all providers charge (although it is not always explicitly listed out in the Electricity Facts Label).  See “What is a TDU?”  below for a more detailed explanation of what a TDU is.  In the Houston area, the Delivery Charge consists of a flat fee per month of $5.47 and an additional 3.8711¢ per kWh.  In other parts of the state these rates are slightly different.

The second part of the pricing is Champion’s per kWh energy charge.  In the Houston area this charge is 5.8¢ per kWh.  (Note: This pricing is as of the time of this writing.  Enter your zip code above to see all plans and up to the minute prices in your area.) This energy charge is the same regardless of how much electricity you use.  This is what sets this plan apart from many other plans which have different energy charges for different levels of usage.  The result is consistent pricing regardless of your usage levels.

Champion Champ Saver 12 EFL

Important:  This example is from 8/6/2018 and is for the Houston area.  Please enter your zip code at the top of the page for current plans and prices in your area.

 

What Will My Actual Bill Be?

Here are some examples of what your bill would be at different usage levels.  All Texas electricity providers list average rates at 3 different usage levels (500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, and 2,000 kWh).  So, we will use those levels for our analysis.

 

What your actual bill would be (Houston Area).

500 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for an apartment in the Houston area.

1000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a small house in the Houston area.

2000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a large house in the Houston area.

The reason the average price per kWh is different for the different usage levels is because of the $5.47 flat fee pass through Delivery Charge.  That fixed amount effects the average rate more at lower usage levels than the higher usage levels.

The chart below shows how the average rate changes based on how much electricity you actually use.  You can see that at 500 kWh the plan starts off at a fairly good rate but gets progressively cheaper – bottoming out at about 9.9¢/kWh at higher usage levels.

champion ave price chart

What is a TDU?

The Delivery charge is the pass through charge from the TDU (Transmission Distribution Utility). This is the company that actually maintains all the power lines and delivers electricity in your area.  It’s different from the Retail Electricity Provider (REP).  The REP is the electric company that sells you the electricity. In this case Champion Energy is the REP.  In the Houston area the TDU is Centerpoint.  In the Dallas/Fort Worth area the TDU is Oncor.

What else do I need to know?

This plan has a cancelation fee of $150 which is pretty standard for a 12 month contract in Texas.

 

What your actual bill would be (Dallas/Fort Worth Area).

500 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for an apartment in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

 

1000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a small house in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

2000 kWh – This would be the typical average usage level for a large house in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

What You Need To Know About The Reliant First Month Free Plan

The Reliant Energy First Month Free Plan sounds like a great deal.  After all, we all love free.  But, as with all Texas electricity plans, in order to know if it is really a good deal for you a little math is required.  (Ok, actually, a lot of math is required).

The Details

Here is what you need to know about Reliant’s First Month Free plan.

  • The free month of electricity applies to both Reliant’s energy charge as well as TDSP (also called TDU) charges. Electricity bills in Texas are comprised of several components; including an energy charge from the provider as well as pass through charges from your TDU (Transportation Distribution Utility).  The TDU is responsible for maintaining poles and wires and delivering electricity to your address.  TDU fees are the same regardless of the electricity provider you choose or the plan you choose.
  • The plan comes with a free google home mini. This is a $49 value according to Reliant.
  • The average rate on this plan is higher than other plans offered by Reliant. That, in itself, is not necessarily a deal breaker.  That’s where the math comes in.

 

The Math

Electricity Providers in Texas quote rates for their plans based on 3 standard usage levels.  They are:

  • 500 kWh – a typical average usage for an apartment in Texas
  • 1000 kWh – a typical average usage for a small house in Texas
  • 2000 kWh – a typical average usage for a large house in Texas

For this example, we will assume an average usage rate of 2,000 kHw per month.  However, in Texas, electricity usage by month can vary greatly.  The table below shows about what your monthly usage would be  for each month if your overall average usage is 2,000 kWh.  This is important because some months of free electricity are more valuable than other months.

kWh usage by month

A little more math gives us the actual bill amount for each month.  Below are the charges for the plan in the Oncor delivery area as of 3/1/2018 which is the most recent version as of this writing.  Oncor is the TDU that covers the Dallas and Fort Worth area as well as some other parts of Texas.

First Month Free EFL

When these charges are applied to the kWh hours for each month you come up with the following monthly bills.

First Month Free Cost Per Month

For this analysis we assume the best case scenario which is August as the free month.  When all is said and done, for the 12 month term of the plan, you end up with an average rate of 11.9¢ per kWh over the life of the plan.  Plus, you get the $49 google Home mini.  As of the time of this writing you can sign up for the Reliant Secure Advantage 12 Plan on vaultelectricity.com for the same 11.9¢ per kWh. (Note: Electricity rates update frequently. For up to the minute rates in your area enter your zip code at the top of this page.)