If you live in a deregulated area of Texas, you can choose who your Retail Energy Provider (REP) is. REPs are companies that sell electricity to consumers. In other words, they’re the names at the top of the month bill. This is not to be confused with the Transmission Distribution Utility (TBU), which is the company that delivers power to a region and maintains the systems and lines to ensure a steady flow of power.
The state of Texas is divided into seven regions, with REPs catering to the different areas. In North Texas, there are 7.1 million people, and it continues to grow. The TDU for North Texas is Oncor, which is the largest in the state. In this region, residents and businesses can choose between a broad range of plans and providers.
8% of the state’s population lives in East Texas. Again, Oncor is the TDU serving most of East Texas. Cirro Energy is the most popular in this region. Residents and businesses can choose electricity providers here as well.
Central Texas, powered by Oncor and TNMP, offers residential and commercial customers the option to electricity providers. They also offer a number of 100% renewable energy plans.
In the region known as the Upper Gulf Coast, lies Houston, the largest city in Texas. Centerpoint is the TDU for the Upper Gulf Coast area. Many providers in this area offer plans for large homes.
South Texas has seen a 7% increase in population since 2010. The cities of San Antonio and Corpus Christi reside within this region. AEP Central is the TDU for South Texas. San Antonio is exempt from deregulation, but you can find cheap electricity rates and plans in Corpus Christi and other areas in this region.
In West Texas, Oncor, AEP North, and TNMP are the TDUs that serve this region. Residents and businesses alike are able to choose their providers.
The Panhandle of Texas accounts for 1.7% of the state’s population. The majority of the Panhandle region has not adopted power utilities to choose electricity providers.
Types of Electricity Plans in Texas
Fixed Rate plans charge the same price each month and involve contracts, ranging from three to thirty-six months. In this plan, the price will be stable and only change in rare circumstances, like fees from the utility company and regional administration. This plan has the benefit of a locked-in price, regardless of how much electricity you use, for the duration of your contract.
Month-to-Month / Variable
Month-to-Month plans offer a temporary contract with no cancellation fees. The amount of energy you are charged is based on your consumption. The fee per kilowatt-hour (kWh) can fluctuate from month to month, but typically stays within a defined percentage range related to the previous month’s usage. Some companies also use a consumption tier system to determine the monthly rate. While the monthly bill will change, this plan offers flexibility in contract length.
Consumers on the pre-paid plan will pay for their electricity in advance. With these plans, there are no long-term contracts and rarely are their initial deposits. These plans allow consumers to decide how much they want to use and pay ahead of time. With this plan, everyone is approved and it puts the consumer in control of their energy bill.
Time of use
The Time-of-Use plan allows consumers to save based on the time of day that the electricity is being used. Often, these plans do not charge for evenings and weekends and tend to be great for folks who work on-site and are therefore gone during the majority of the daylight hours.
Some companies that are not focused on providing renewable energy will still have a renewable option. These are typically either Fixed Rate or Month-to-Month plans that draw from a renewable energy source like solar or wind.
Best Electricity Plan Providers in Texas: Our Picks
Reliant Energy Review
Reliant Energy, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, is one of the largest retail electricity providers in Texas. It has more than 1.5 million residents. Headquartered in Houston, Reliant prides itself on being affordable with its diverse selection of electricity plans offered. It caters to residents and businesses in the Upper Gulf Coast and South Texas, providing 24/7 assistance and supporting causes important to those Texas communities.
Reliant Energy has six residential plans available to consumers.
- Fixed-Rate Plan
- Variable Rate
- Plans that Reward
Plans that Reward is a standard month-to-month plan that incentivizes consumers to spend certain amounts. This allows consumers to reap rewards in the forms of sports memorabilia, gift cards, bill credits, airline miles, and donations: all while paying their monthly bills.
- Renewable Energy
The Renewable Energy plans can be fixed-rate or month-to-month. The difference with the standard plans is that these plans provide consumers with power from a renewable energy source like wind or solar.
Pulse Power Review
Pulse Power is a Texas-based retail provider that serves residential and commercial consumers. They pride themselves on keeping things simple and easy for the consumer. They further help the consumer by providing energy-saving tips on their website. Furthermore, all of their power comes from 100% renewable energy. Pulse takes a 1000 kWh home and saves 17,000 pounds of CO2 simply by having 100% renewable.
Pulse only offers fixed-rate plans that have a maximum difference of $.03 / kWh, depending on the length of time of the plan—12, 24, and 36 months. The longer plans have the lowest rates. These plans are ideal for the long, hot summers that Texas is known for. There are further discounts for autopay and paperless billing.
Cirro Energy Review
Cirro Energy, which was founded in 2001 in Plano, TX, and is a subsidiary of the NRG Energy Family, provides power to over 150,000 homes and businesses across Texas. They offer some of the lowest Fixed-Rates, money-saving plans, online account management tools, convenient payment options, and local customer service. It lauds affordable, easy, and hassle-free energy rates and plans, regardless of consumption, all while supporting worthy causes within the community.
Cirro Energy has three principle plans.
- 12 Month Fixed
This plan differs from other fixed plans in that enrolling gives consumers a $50 credit.
- One Month Variable
The price may change from month to month at the discretion of Cirro Energy. With this plan, the rate per kWh is charged by thresholds of 500, 1000, and 2000 kWh, so being over one threshold puts you in the pay grade of the next highest.
- 24 Month Fixed
This is the same as the 12 Month plan but offers a lower rate per kWh. However, there is a higher cancellation fee as the plan is designed to run for a longer period of time.
Green Mountain Energy Review
Green Mountain Energy, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, was founded in 1997 to offer consumers a choice to change the way power is made. Headquartered in Austin, Green Mountain offers residential homes and businesses 100% clean and renewable energy from wind and solar, including working with homes that have been fitted for solar power. They also bring renewable models to their own business practices, in addition to the services they provide. They host a variety of clean energy projects that help neutralize carbon emissions for a cleaner environment and founded the Green Energy Sun Club, whose mission is to invest in nonprofits to advance sustainability for people and the planet. As a whole, Green Mountain’s customers have avoided 93,500,000,000 pounds of CO2 and counting, which is the equivalent of planting 11,135,000 trees.
Green Mountain offers five plans for each consumer’s renewable energy needs.
- 12 Months Pollution Free Crystal Clear
This plan offers 100% wind renewable energy. It is the most expensive of the fixed plans. Enrolling equates to 39,309 miles not driven, 8,506 newspapers recycled, 3,435 young trees’ CO2 absorbed annually.
- 12 Months Pollution Free E-Plus.
This plan is the same as the Crystal Clear plan but requires that all enroll in Tree Free billing and autopay.
- Pollution Free All Nighter
All Nighter brings 100% renewable energy for free all night long. Consumers pay nothing from 8 pm to 6 am, seven nights a week. The rest of the time, consumers will enjoy a low Fixed-Rate.
- 24 Months
24 Months extends the previous fixed-rate plans for two years. This affords consumers a lower rate and price security for a longer period of time.
Month-to-Month is the most expensive plan that Green Mountain offers. The monthly bill will vary from month to month depending on consumption. It has all of the perks of renewable energy, but without the cancellation fee.
Payless Power Review
Payless Power was founded in 2005 by a trio of brothers. They are Dallas-based and serve only residential customers across North and East Texas. Payless works with principal utilities across Texas: Oncor in Dallas / Fort Worth and West Texas, CenterPoint Energy in the Houston metropolitan area, AEP Central in Corpus Christi metropolitan area, AEP North in Abilene and North Texas. With Payless Power, everyone is approved. There are no deposits, no credit checks, and no long-term contracts because everything is pre-paid. Consumers can monitor their own usage and manage their budgets accordingly. As a result, consumers can have access to rates up to 20% lower than traditional companies.
Within these pre-paid programs, Payless offers two plans.
- 12 Months Fixed
Each day, Payless will notify the consumer of kWh usage, savings for the day, balance remaining, and days left in the cycle. With the same rate, it is easier to predict and budget for energy consumption. Simply need $75 to start this plan.
With the Month-to-Month plan, the rates change each month. Payless still notifies consumers of consumption, so they can be in control of their usage. There is no termination fee with this plan. Only need $49 to enroll.
Common Questions about Texas Electricity Plans
This typically requires a visit to their website, as each company has a different process.
The companies listed below all have options to compare their plans on their website. Comparing plans across companies will require a bit more research.
The best way to lower your plan is to use less electricity. Most providers list energy-saving tips on their websites to help customers with this very predicament. Some companies also offer things like average billing, which averages 12 months of usage. You will still have to pay for all the energy you use, but it might make some of the peaks a bit gentler.
If you are in a time of crisis, larger companies like Reliant have programs that will give you financial support to help pay the electricity bill.
No, the provider will contact the current utility company about the change. Your utility will be the same.
Unless you are breaking a contract, there typically are no fees accrued in changing providers.
You can pre-pay electricity with pre-pay plans. Otherwise, you will be paying for the previous month.
If you participate in net metering, you will receive a credit for the surplus electricity that your panels produce and is sent to the grid. You can also choose to save these credits and use them at times when your solar panel system isn’t producing enough electricity.
Check out this article on solar electricity providers in Texas.
The principal benefit is that you will be able to save your own electricity from your solar panels and use the energy stored in the storage system when your panels aren’t producing enough. This means that you won’t be tapping into the grid system and using your regional utility electricity.
Regardless of your REP, if your power goes out, you must contact the regional utility service or TDU.
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