×

What is the Impact of Wind Energy on Texas Electricity Rates?

Texas is a leader in wind electricity. The state gets a substantial amount of its power from wind turbines. The percentage of electricity coming from wind has increased steadily in Texas over the past couple of decades. But what impact does all of this wind power have on Texas electricity rates?

Electricity rates are low when the wind is blowing because electricity prices in Texas are based on the wholesale electricity market. The  providers pay a generator (coal, gas, or wind) for electricity at a price per megawatt hour that fluctuates based on market demand. Since wind power costs less than coal or natural gas-based generators, it’s can often be cheaper for electricity companies to buy  from wind farms.

Timing is important when it comes to wind energy

Electricity rates are low when the wind is blowing. Wind, especially in Texas, has a habit of blowing more when electricity demand is at it’s lowest. The peak season for wind in Texas is during the spring and, in particular, at night. Because the need for air conditioning is relatively low on spring evenings in Texas, wholesale electricity rates can plummet when electricity is being produced faster than it is needed for the grid.

This can be an opportunity for savvy consumers. This imbalance between supply and demand and the resulting price swings is why time-of-day plans such as the TXU Free Nights plan have become popular in Texas. TXU was one of the first to introduce such plans. But today many electric companies in Texas offer similar plans. Many consumers are able to shift their habits and use more of their power during these periods where electricity is sometimes free. This results in overall lower electricity rates.

Improving technology makes wind energy more competitive each year

Some of the recent improvements in wind turbine technology include taller towers, increased efficiency, onsite assembly and construction. Bigger blades are also an improvement because they increase power output. Increased efficiency means it requires less input to produce the same amount of electricity. With onsite assembly and construction, turbines can be assembled quickly with less expense. This has lead to a proliferation of wind turbines in West Texas.

A major portion of the cost of wind turbines is the initial construction and assembly. The average wind turbine can last as long as 20 years. Wind turbines spur growth because developers only need to deal with transport and installation costs, not the costs of purchasing land and building a tower. A single large wind turbine creates an estimated $6 million over its lifetime in savings for equipment manufacturing and almost $5 million in health and pollution.

Natural gas still drives the cost of electricity in Texas.

“Even though electricity rates have been going down, a large percent of that is due to natural gas prices,” said Paul Wattles, former director of energy markets at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).  “The electricity generation mix has changed significantly over the last few years, but natural gas is still the largest source of electricity.”

The electricity generation mix has changed significantly over the last few years, but natural gas is still the largest source of electricity.  According to Wattles, electricity rates tend to go up when natural gas prices go up.

Expect wind energy to decrease electricity rates in Texas going forward

Wind relied heavily on government subsidies in the past. Today wind energy can compete on it’s own merit. The technology has improved to the point that with the proper infrastructure in place, wind energy can have a decidedly positive impact on electricity rates. This is a trend that is expected to continue for many years to come. Even without major new breakthroughs in technology, incremental improvements will continue for the foreseeable future.

What is the Cheapest TXU Electricity Plan

TXU Electricity Rates

Let’s look at some of the electricity plans available from TXU Energy and see which plan might be the best for your specific circumstances.

There are 3 basic questions you need to ask yourself before you select an electricity plan:

  • How much electricity do I use

  • Am I willing to adjust my habits around when I use my electricity

  • Is renewable energy an important consideration for me in choosing my next electricity plan

 

Best TXU Energy Plan for an Apartment

If you live in an apartment you probably don’t use a ton of electricity.  A good estimate for how much electricity the average apartment in Texas uses each much is around 500 kWh per month.  With that in mind, you need to look at the average rate for TXU electricity plans at the 500 kWh usage level.

Select 500kWh home size
Vaultelectricty.com allows you to select your home size to compare rates

Using the Vaultelectricity.com electricity rate comparison tool, select Apartment from the Home Size drop down box.  For our purposes today, we will look at electricity rates in the Houston area.  It is important, however, that you enter your own zip code in the search box to find the best rates on TXU plans in your area.

We see that the Clear Deal 12 is the cheapest electricity plan listed by TXU in Houston. Again, the rate listed in the image below is probably not current depending on when you are reading this.  Make sure that you do a fresh search for the most current rates.

 

Cheapest TXU Energy Plan for 500kWh usage level

 

The Clear Deal 12 plan includes a bill credit that kicks in when your usage in a billing cycle hits 800 kWhs.  So, if you use a little more electricity than the average apartment, you will have a cheaper rate on your bill once you go over 800 kWh.

Electricity Facts Label for TXU Clear Deal 12 Plan
Check our current listings for the up to date EFL and rates

 

Notice on the Electricity Fact Label associated with the plan above , that the base energy charge goes up when your usage exceeds 1200 kWh.  This is more proof that you must pay attention to how much electricity you use when selecting an energy plan.

 

Best TXU Plan if you live in a Home

To find the best electricity rates for a home, select either the Large Home (2000 kWh per month) or Small Home (1000 kWh per month) options from the Home size dropdown.  Most electricity providers in Texas tailor specific electric plans to meet the needs of either small, medium, or large consumers of residential electricity.

In the case of TXU, the Clear Deal 12 plan also comes up as the cheapest option for large and small homes.  Although, the rate at 1000 kWh is cheaper than the average rate at 2000 kWh.  This is because, as mentioned before, the Clear Deal 12 plan is really targeted at the 800 – 1200 kWh per month usage range.

 

Shift You Habits and Save on Electricity

TXU energy has a couple of plans aimed at consumers who are willing to adjust when they use their power in order to reduce their electric bills.  These plans fall into the broad category of Time of Use plans.  Where or not you can save on these plans is highly dependent on how you choose to use your power.

We have a more complete description of the TXU Free Nights and Solar Days plan here.  But, in brief, the plan offers free electricity at night and relies on solar energy for your daytime power.  Don’t worry.  This doesn’t mean you have to put solar panels on your roof.  TXU is buying solar generated electricity from the grid.

You have to make sure that, if you choose this plan, you are able to use a lot of your electricity during the free nighttime period.  The electricity rate for day time usage is much higher than the Clear Deal 12 plan.

If you would prefer to cram as much of your power use as possible into specific days of the month, rather than at night time, you may prefer the Season Pass 12 plan from TXU.   This plan looks at the 7 highest usage days on your monthly bill and removes that cost from your bill.

More About TXU Energy

Texas residents who are looking to save on their electricity bill might be considering changing their power plan. TXU energy creates plans for individual homes and businesses in Texas, so it can provide competitive rates for you depending on what you need. When you shop for electricity plans with TXU, they have plans that are exclusive to your usage habits.  TXU Energy is one of the largest and oldest electric companies in Texas.  In certain parts of the state such as the Dallas/Fort Worth area, it is easily one of the most recognizable brands.

What You Need to Know About the Flash Bundled 12 Plan from Express Energy

What electric company offers the Flash Bundled Plan?

The Flash Bundled 12 plan is offered by Express Energy; one of the newer electricity providers in Texas.   The plan is among the many popular “bill credit” plans offered by many electric companies.  The plans are called bill credit plans because they offer credits on your bill once your usage meets a certain threshold number within the billing cycle.    In this case, the Flash Bundled 12 plan will give you a $100 bill credit when your usage hits 1000 kWh.

The “Bundled” in the name refers to the fact that all pass-through charges from the TDU are included in the Energy Charge for the plan.  The TDU is the infrastructure utility that maintains the wires in your area and actually delivers power to your home.  The TDU pass-throughs are the same for any electric company you choose.  It’s up to each individual company to either break these charges out separately in your billing or to simply bundle them into one blended rate for a particular plan.  In the Houston area, your TDU is CenterPoint energy.

What is the lowest price point of this electricity plan?

This plan is designed to have its lowest average electricity rate at exactly 1000 kWh of usage.  As of this writing, that rate is 8.1 cents per kWh if you live in the Houston area.  This chart illustrates the average electricity rate for the Flash Bundled plan at each usage level.

It’s important to note that rates change often and depending on when you are reading this the rates will likely be different than what we’ve shown here.  Always check for the most up to date electricity rates in your area by using our real time Texas electricity rate search tool.

Price per kWh based on usage
This chart illustrates what the actual price per kWh is for this plan based on the amount of electricity used per billing period.

What size home is this plan designed for?

Because this plan targets the 1000 kWh usage level, this plan would be best for homes that consistently use more than 1000 kWh of electricity.  If you find that you consistently use more than 2000 kWh, then you should look for a plan that’s more targeted to larger homes.  Once you exceed 1500 kWh other plans may be a better alternative for you.

 

Will I save money with this plan?

This review was written in December 2021.  At this point in time, the Flash Bundled 12 plan is the cheapest plan for the 1000 kWh usage level across much of Texas.  Rates in general are very high in Texas right now.  They are expected to drop after the beginning of the year.  Depending on how much electricity you use each month, this plan could be the cheapest new plan currently available.  However, to know if this is a cheaper rate than you are currently paying you will have to refer to your current electricity bill.

What are the cancelation fees for this plan?

Like all plans for Express Energy, the cancellation fee for this plan is $20 for each month that remains on your contract.  For example, if you cancelled with 10 months remaining in your contract, your cancelation fee would be $200.  If you cancelled with only one month remaining you would pay $20.

How do  I enroll in this plan?

To compare this plan with other plans available in your area, enter your zip code in the search box above.  From there you can enroll online or call the phone number provided to enroll online.

How Texas Residents Can Reduce Their Electric Bills

After last winter’s epic storm, Texas electricity providers are actively implementing new ways of protecting the grid and improving energy efficiency. It’s not just electric companies that can play a role in preparing for winter. Lone Star residents are equally poised to tackle sky-high energy bills and prepare for seasonal weather.

Develop Good Energy Saving Habits

Homeownership across Texas is on the rise. Cities like Houston and Dallas are seeing some of the youngest homeowners in the country. While there is no shortage of energy-saving tips available via the internet, new homeowners may not be familiar with some of the tried and true energy-saving knowledge passed down from grumpy fathers finicking with the thermostat. Heating and cooling contribute almost half of the monthly electricity bill; adjusting the temperature by a few degrees can lead to almost immediate savings. Decreasing the temperature on the water heater can also lend a hand; most are preset at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but 120 degrees is hot enough for dishwashers, laundry machines, and shower use.

Take Advantage of Assistance Programs

While Cardi B may not be singing about it, the Texas Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) helps reduce home energy rates through increased energy efficiency education and materials. Available in all Texas counties, WAP benefits those that last winter’s storm affected most, like low-income or elderly Texans. Besides state-funded programs, most Texas energy companies provide opportunities for homeowners to apply for energy efficiency assistance, often in the form of insulation and air-sealing upgrades. Others distribute free supplies such as dimmable LED bulbs or more efficient showerheads, and some offer cash-back rebates to customers who invest in energy-efficient appliances.

Compare Electricity Rates in Texas

Electricity rates in Texas are unique in that residents can shop around and compare costs. It does place the burden on consumers to research options, but there may be opportunities to find a cheap electricity rate or cost savings within a consumer’s current plan. Certain companies offer a no-deposit electricity option, allowing customers to forgo a service charge often required to turn on the power. Some Texas electric companies award additional financial incentives for customers who pay their bills on time, enroll in online billing, or stick with a long-term plan. Some electricity providers are more technologically advanced, delivering smart tools like thermostats and meters that reduce energy consumption long-term and improve energy reading accuracy.

Understanding an Energy Bill

Better understanding a bill’s calculation may lead to selecting a different plan and saving money. Several variables contribute to Texas electricity rates, but some payment plans suit consumers’ budgets better than others. Here are a few models that may help reduce energy costs:

  • Prepaid plans allow customers to pay for electricity upfront and monitor their remaining balance daily via their smartphones; these plans put more control in the hands of consumers.
  • Time of Use (TOU) plans change energy prices during peak use times (often late afternoon). Customers enrolled in TOU plans can adjust when they use electricity accordingly, receiving cheaper rates.
  • Average billing plans allow customers to pay a monthly bill that reflects their annual, monthly average; these plans help residents avoid sky-high bills in summer or winter when unpredictable weather can crank up energy costs.

There is more to energy reduction than remembering to turn off the light switch. Smart consumer behaviors like comparing provider benefits or opting for a different payment plan may help reduce costs in a meaningful way. Texas residents have a lot of power when it comes to their, well, power.

How to switch electricity providers in Houston Texas

Houstonians who live in areas served by the Reliant, Cirro, or any other electric company should be aware that there are other options to choose from.

There are many benefits associated with switching to a different provider, including lower rates and longer term agreements.

Switching electricity providers in Houston is possible through the deregulation of the Texas electricity market. As of 2002, the deregulated power markets meant that customers were free to select their own Retail Electric Provider (REP) – the companies that sell electric service to residential and commercial consumers – or continue to receive pre-deregulation services from the the legacy electric companies.

Who can switch?

Houstonians are not stuck with the electricity provider they currently have. It is possible to switch electricity providers in Houston, TX. If you live in the Houston area your electricity is delivered by Centerpoint. However, the electric company that sells the electricity to you is up to you to choose. This is the meaning behind the Power to Choose slogan in Texas.

Considerations before switching

What do I need to consider before switching my electricity provider? In order to make an informed decision about whether it’s right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself:

How much does my current plan cost me?

Check you electric bill to see your average cost per kWh. Electricity bills in Texas are somewhat standardized and you should be able to see what your real world average price per kWh is. Don’t be surprised if it is different from the rate that was advertised.

Are my prices going up/down often?

It is common to see your actual realized cost per kWh fluctuate somewhat from one bill to the next. This is because of the complicated ways electricity rates are calculated in Texas. This is even true of so called “fixed rate” electricity plans. But if you find your electricity bill fluctuating wildly from month to month, that might be a sign that you should shop for a better electricity plan from a different provider.

Benefits of Switching Electricity Providers in Houston, TX

The biggest benefit to switching electricity providers is, of course, price. You can expect to pay less money every month for your electricity when you compare rates between various retail electricity companies. Vaultelectricity.com has done the work necessary to locate all available electricity providers in the city and will make sure you get the best rate for your needs.

How to switch

Switching electricity is simple and painless. Once you decide on a new provider and electricity plan, the company you are switching with will do all the work. Fill out the online enrollment form or call the number provided on this site to complete your switch. There will be no interruption in your service and you don’t have to contact your current provider. The only change you should notice is a new provider name and, hopefully, a better rate on your next bill.

Final Thoughts

When shopping around for an electric power supplier, consider factors such as: usage history (how much electricity do you typically use in a month), deposit requirement (most companies wont require a deposit if you have a good credit history), contract length, and most importantly – lowest price.

How to Shop for Electricity

How to Shop for Electricity

Shopping for electricity may seem to be a strange phrase, but there are many states, including most of Texas, that allow you to choose your electricity provider. There are many electric companies with varying energy rates for you to consider. Taking the time to look at each of the many Texas electricity providers and then compare electricity rates can help you find the best rate for your home or business.

How to Find the Right Company

The list of energy companies throughout Texas is a long one. Most of the states can choose their electricity provider, so there are several companies to choose from. Each has different plans and rates that change regularly, so it can be difficult to pinpoint which one would be best for you. There are a few features that you may be interested in that can influence your decision.

  • Green Energy: Many companies utilize some form of green energy, but there are Texas electricity providers that solely function on wind or solar energy sources
  • Charity: Several Texas electric companies donate a percentage of their earnings or make an annual donation directly to the charity
  • Technology: Some companies offer easy to use apps or smart technology such as Wi-Fi integrated thermostats to help lower your energy bills
  • Rewards Programs: Electrical companies offer incentives to pay your bills on time or maintain a long-term account
  • Custom Plans: Many energy companies will work with you to create a plan that suits your needs
  • No Credit Check: A few companies do not require the standard soft credit check that comes with most plans
  • No Deposit Electricity: Some providers do not ask for a deposit before turning on your power

How to Choose the Best Provider

One factor you do not need to consider is the quality of the electricity itself. The actual electricity is delivered to your home or business by a few companies called Transmission Distribution Utilities (TDU). They are the ones that will reconnect your power after the storms and repair the damaged pole on the street corner. You will see a standard fee on your electricity bill from these companies that is not dependent on which energy provider you choose.

With the quality of service out of the way, the real search comes down to price. You want to find cheap electricity, so the next step will be to compare Texas electricity rates. Vault Energy Solutions has done the hard work for you. Every company has been vetted and is clearly described on the website. You will not find any hidden fees or stipulations since every factor has been included in the search results. You can type in your zip code and find a list of Texas electric companies in your area and the total rate they charge for electricity.

Each month, electricity providers multiply your total kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage of energy by their rate to calculate your bill. Your search results of each company will show their kWh rate plus any additional fees. You can look at your current bill to see the average amount of electricity you use each month to get an idea of what you would be paying per month.

Why Shop Around?

Electricity is a necessity that your home and business rely on to operate each day. You have to pay for electricity, but when living in Texas, you have the choice to pay less, go green, or support a local charity. Take the time to compare electricity rates and companies and find one that fits your needs.

What You Need to Know About The TXU Free Pass Plan (Updated 2020)

TXU is the company that popularized Free Nights and other time of day electricity plans in Texas.  Now the electric company that brought you Free Nights and Solar Days has introduced a plan called the TXU Energy Free Pass 12 Plan.

Note: Texas electricity rates change often.  The rates referenced in this review are as of July 2020.  To compare current TXU rates with other electric companies, enter your zip code at the top of this page.

How does the TXU Free Pass Plan work?

The plan is fairly simple.  For each billing period, TXU takes your 7 highest electricity usage days and subtracts those days from your bill.  For those days you are charged a 0¢/kWh energy charge and the typical pass through fees associated with Oncor or your local distribution utility are waived.

What is the KWh charge on the TXU Free Pass plan?

In the Oncor service area which includes, Dallas and Fort Worth, the energy charge is 15.7¢/kWh.  In addition to that, you will pay the Oncor passthrough fee of 3.577¢/kWh.  This brings the total electricity rate to 19.3¢/kWh for the days you pay for.

If you used exactly the same amount of electricity every day of a 30 day billing cycle, your 7 free days would account for 23.3% of your total electricity usage.

TXU publishes an average electricity rate of 13.9¢/kWh for 1000 kWh of usage in the Oncor delivery area.  To arrive at this number, they assume that 33.1% of your electricity usage occurs during your 7 free days.

electricity rate for TXU Free Pass Plan

Every household is different. Its hard to predict exactly what your final average electricity rate would be.

The table below shows TXU’s published 1000 kWh average electricity rate for each delivery area including the 7 free days.  It also includes the energy charge plus TDU pass through charge for the non-free days of the plan.


TXU Free Pass Electricity Rates

City (TDU) 1000 kWh Average Rate Non-Free Day Rate
Dallas (Oncor) 13.9¢/kWh 19.3¢/kWh
Houston (Centerpoint) 14.9¢/kWh 20.9¢/kWh
Lewisville (TNMP) 14.9¢/kWh 19.9¢/kWh
Abiliene (AEPN) 13.9¢/kWh 19.1¢/kWh
Victoria (AEPC) 14.3¢/kWh 19.8¢/kWh

Is the TXU Free Pass plan a good deal?

The challenge for consumers is to shift their electricity usage habits to take advantage of the free periods.  With Free nights or mornings plans, consumers can change when they do their laundry or wash their dishes.  They can change their pool timers or do other things to plan their daily electricity-intensive chores at the right time.

It’s a little more difficult, however, to shift electricity usage to specific days of the month.  Summer is approaching in Texas which means A/Cs are about to be running all day every day.  You can’t just shove all of your air conditioning into 7 days of the month.

For most consumers, this plan would act somewhat like a free weekends plan.  If you work during the week, you should be adjusting your thermostat to use less electricity to cool your home during the days when you are working.  On the weekend, when you are more likely to be home, you probably want to keep the thermostat at a more comfortable temperature.  You’re also more likely to do energy intensive household chores like laundry during the weekend.  This adds together to make the weekends likely your highest electricity usage days.

 

What else do I need to know about the Free Pass plan?

  • The plan comes with a 12 month contract commitment
  • The cancelation fee is $150
  • It has a base charge of $9.95 per month plus a pass through base charge from your TDU of between $3.42 and $10.53 depending on where you live.
  • The plan has a renewable energy content of 6%

See Also: TXU AutoSaver Plan

Filed under: TXU Free Pass Plan Review