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Texas Electricity Rates

 September 2018 Texas Electricity Rates Update

Texas electricity rates are on their way down again.  After a summer spike, electricity rates across Texas have fallen.  Utility officials were concerned about having enough electricity to meet peak summer demand.  This resulted in electricity providers increasing the rates on their fixed rate plans in anticipation of higher wholesale electricity prices.

Now that summer is over and the feared power shortages never materialized, Texas electricity rates are back down.  Now is a great time to lock in a great rate if you are not under contract.

For example, Bounce Energy has a 6 month plan for just 8.4¢/kWh in the DFW area (9.2¢ in Houston area).  If you have a larger home, Frontier has a plan targeted for the 2,000 kWh usage rate at just 7.3¢/kWh.

The average electricity rate for a 12 month plan at the 2000 kWh usage rate stands at 9.9¢/kWh for the Houston area.  In the DFW area the average rate is 9.1¢/kWh.  This is down from the peak average in August 2018.  Certain shorter term electricity rate plans have lower rates.

Texas Electricity Rate Guide September 2018

Texas Location/Size Average Rate Lowest Rate Cheapest Provider
Houston  Apartment (500 kWh) 11.7¢/kWh 10.9¢/kWh Gexa Energy
Houston  Sm Home (1000 kWh) 10.3¢/kWh 9.6¢/kWh Cirro Energy
Houston  Lg Home (2000 kWh) 9.9¢/kWh 8.5¢/kWh Frontier Utilities
Dallas  Apartment (500 kWh) 10.6¢/kWh 10.0¢/kWh Gexa Energy
Dallas  Sm Home (1000 kWh) 9.0¢/kWh 6.9¢/kWh Pennywise Power
Dallas  Lg Home (2000 kWh) 9.1¢/kWh 7.3¢/kWh Frontier Utilities
Lewisville  Apartment (500 kWh) 12.4¢/kWh 12.1¢/kWh Champion Energy
Lewisville  Sm Home (1000 kWh) 10.1¢/kWh 9.3¢/kWh Cirro Energy
Lewisville  Lg Home (2000 kWh) 9.5¢/kWh 8.1¢/kWh Frontier Utilities
Victoria  Apartment (500 kWh) 12.8¢/kWh 12.0¢/kWh Trieagle Energy
Victoria  Sm Home (1000 kWh) 10.8¢/kWh 9.9¢/kWh 4Change Energy
Victoria  Lg Home (2000 kWh) 10.3¢/kWh 9.1¢/kWh Frontier Utilities
Abilene  Apartment (500 kWh) 12.2¢/kWh 11.3¢/kWh Trieagle Energy
Abilene  Sm Home (1000 kWh) 10.3¢/kWh 9.8¢/kWh Cirro Energy
Abilene  Lg Home (2000 kWh) 10.0¢/kWh 9.7¢/kWh Direct Energy

 

****IMPORTANT***

The rates listed here are a snapshot as of 9/14/2018.  To see current rates in your city use our real time electricity rate comparison tool at the top of this page.

Rates listed in table are for 12 month plans.  Rates will be different for longer or shorter duration plans.

Texas Electricity Rates - September 2018  

Cheapest Electricity Rates

The lowest rate electricity plans currently include the Bounce Fantastic 6 Plan.  This is a straightforward plan with a simple pricing structure that is unlikely to lead to surprises in your electric bill.

For smaller homes that use around 1,000 kWh per month, the Pennywise Power Wise Buy Conserve Plus 12 plan priced at a very attractive 6.9¢/kWh in the Oncor deliver area that includes Arlington, Grand Prairie and several other Texas cities.

For apartments that use around 500 kWh, the cheapest electricity rate going is the Fantastic Fixed 6 plan at  9.7¢/kWh

What is the cheapest electricity provider in my area?

Electricity rates very throughout the state of Texas.  To find a complete list of electric companies and plans in your area, enter your zip code above.   When you find the plan that is right for you, you can enroll right here online or over the phone.

Texas Electricity Rates to Go Up In 2018

****Update Fall 2018****

Good News!

Texas electricity rates are on their way down again.  After a summer spike, electricity rates across Texas have fallen.  Utility officials were concerned about having enough electricity to meet peak summer demand.  This resulted in electricity providers increasing the rates on their fixed rate plans in anticipation of higher wholesale electricity prices.

Now that summer is over and the feared power shortages never materialized, rates are back down.  Now is a great time to lock in a great rate if you are not under contract.

For example, Bounce Energy has a 6 month plan for just 8.4¢/kWh in the DFW area (9.2¢ in Houston area).  If you have a larger home, Frontier has a plan targeted for the 2,000 kWh usage rate at just 7.3¢/kWh.

***Original Story****

Texas electricity rates are expected to go up in 2018 as the state’s electricity grid experiences growing pains.  2018 will see the closing of a number of coal fueled power plants.  Coal has been giving way to cheaper electricity fuel sources for a number of years.

The growth in wind power and natural gas fueled power will offset the loss in coal over time but for the summer of 2018, expected record demand for electricity will converge with power plant closures to put a squeeze on wholesale electricity rates.  This, in turn, will cause the retail electricity prices paid by most Texas consumers to increase. The rise in wholesale rates could be particularly dangerous for consumers who have electricity plans that are tied directly to the wholesale price of electricity.

The rise in prices could be felt more in areas like Houston.  Houston electricity rates tend to be higher that rates in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.  Average summer temperatures also tend to be higher in the southern part of the state.

Reserves to fall below comfort level

The state of Texas typically targets a reserve margin of 13.75%.  This means that the available supply of electricity should exceed the projected peak demand for electricity by at least that amount.  This give a cushion for unforeseen spikes in demand or lose of capacity such as could be experienced during a large storm.

The most recent projections by ERCOT put the reserve margin during the summer of 2018 at 9.3%.  This number is expected to climb to 11.7% by the summer of 2019 as newer power plants come on line.

 

See Also: Hurricane Harvey’s Impact on Texas Electricity Grid
See Also: Oncor Proposes Electricity Rate Increase for Many Texans

 

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.)

Oncor Hikes Rates Yet Again

Oncor (Formally TXU) filed another rate hike request with the Public Utility Commission a rate-hike. This rate hike will is quite significant, with commercial customers seeing a 15.5% jump in rates, residential customers having their costs rise by 14.6%, and streetlight rates increasing by a whopping 25.9%.

Let’s not forget this is right on the heels of a rate increase by Oncor less than two years ago.

According to Oncor’s Chief Operating Officer Charles Jenkins, “The proposed new rates reflect both the investments we’ve made and the cost controls we’ve put in place, including recently refinancing a portion of our debt at lower interest rates and passing those savings on to customers.” Just ask a bondholder about that fiasco….

When Oncor announced just how high they were going to be raising rates, it was met with astonishment. Thomas Brocato, an Austin attorney who specializes in making cities’ cases before regulatory boards, said the 16.5-percent increase was “really surprising given the very favorable outcome they had in their last case.

Cities are still fighting Oncor’s previous rate hike, so this comes as a double whammy.

Lower Corporate Taxes Mean Lower Electricity Rates For Texas

Texas electricityThe Texas PUC is pushing the state’s utilities to pass through some of the benefits of the recently passed corporate tax cuts in the form of lower electricity rates.

Retail electricity is deregulated in Texas. However, the transmission and distribution utilities that deliver electricity around the state are still subject to the state’s oversight.

Oncor, the state’s largest distribution utility which covers Dallas, Fort Worth and much of North Texas, has already agreed to pass all of the millions of dollars of expected tax savings along to consumers.  Oncor agreed to pass the savings along to customers as part of a rate review which is a formal process in which the PUC reviews the appropriateness of rates being charged by the utility.  No exact details have been determined with respect to how the savings will be passed along. The rate review was actually completed before the tax reform bill was passed but there was a commitment in principle to passing along the savings.  It’s not yet know exactly how much Oncor will save from the lower corporate tax rates but with a $245 million tax bill in 2017 future saving are likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

Several of the state’s other electrical utilities have also agreed to pass along the savings to consumers.  These include Southwestern Electric Power Co., and El Paso Electric.  Centerpoint, which is responsible for delivery to the Houston area, has yet to specifically commit to lowering electricity rates in response to the tax cuts.

TDU fees in Texas appear as a pass thru item on consumer’s electric bills.  They are the same for any consumer within the delivery area regardless of the Retail Electricity Provider serving the address.  Lowering these pass thru fees will lower the effective electricity rate for millions of Texas rate payers.

Hurricane Harvey’s Impact on Texas Electricity Grid

High winds and significant flooding along the Texas Gulf Coast substantially impacted the Texas electricity grid.  The transmission and distribution infrastructure sustained severe damage in the southern portion of the state as a result of Harvey’s landfall.  10,000 megawatts of electricity was lost to the grid according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

The loss of generation capacity was offset by a large drop in electricity demand across the state.  The loss in demand was a direct result of downed transmission lines.  Leaving hundreds of thousands of Texans without power at times.  The grid also benefited from a drop in temperatures across the state during the period when the loss of capacity was at its greatest.

Many factors associated with the storm combined to reduce electricity output.  Several power plants went offline as a result of flooding that impacted the delivery of fuel supplies to the generator facilities.  These same transportation difficulties kept personnel needed to run the plants from getting to work.

Near the coast where winds exceeded 130 miles per hour, many high voltage transmission lines were taken out of service by the damaging winds.  Further inland in the Houston area, flooding took a larger toll on transmission facilities.  Capacity was also lost due to loss of wind power.  Wind turbines are turned off when wind exceeds 55 mph in order to avoid damaging the equipment.

Power loss along with the failure of a backup generator were to blame for explosions at the Arkema chemical plant.  The plant stored chemicals that become volatile when not cooled to a certain temperature.

Meanwhile, many electricity providers in Texas stepped up to help in relief and rebuilding efforts.  NRG, the parent company of Reliant Energy and several other electric brands in Texas donated one million dollars to organizations including the Red Cross, and the J.J. Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund.   Direct Energy, the parent company of Bounce energy and the Direct Energy retail brand is matching donations up to $25,000 the Red Cross.  TXU Energy is allocating $500,000 to help customers who are unable to pay their electric bills in the wake of Harvey.

Buffett May Be Buying Oncor

Legendary investor Warren Buffett may be close to buying Texas’ largest electricity utility according to reports.   Once part of the giant energy concern that included the retail arm of TXU, Oncor Electric Delivery has been up for sale for some time since the bankruptcy of its parent holding company Energy Future Holdings.

There have been numerous attempts to sell the unit already.  Offers by Hunt Consolidated Inc and NextEra Energy have both hit roadblocks thrown up by Texas regulators.  Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway is said to be offering $17.4 billion for the utility.

ONCOR is responsible for the transportation and distribution of electricity for a large portion of the Texas electricity marketplace including the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.  It is one of a handful of regional monopolies allowed to transmit the electricity that retail electricity providers sell to residential and commercial end users.   10 million electricity users in Texas are served by ONCOR.