A ‘Stellar’ Solution for Saving Energy Costs
Most South Texans have the opportunity to select their energy provider and service plan that best fits their needs. Those who shop, however, are those who save. If you have not shopped around for energy service plans in a while, it is likely that you will find out that your provider is charging more than what is offered to a new customer for the same service.
Whether you are a residential user, small business, or a buyer for a large commercial enterprise, here are a few tips to help make your energy buying process easier and bring additional savings.
1 – Review your current bill and determine three things:
- What is my unit rate (price per kWh)?
- What is my contract end date?
- What is my total rate (total invoice/monthly usage)
2 – Shop! Shop! Shop! (Who doesn’t like to shop?)
- Compare your unit rate and total rate to those being offered by various retail electricity providers (PowerToChoose.org, MyTrueCost.com).
- Choose a plan that best fits your needs and value.
3 – Review the supplier scorecard at PowerToChoose.org.
Electricity is measured in kilowatt hours, or kWh. It is important to pay attention to your unit and total rate, and any added fees or charges applicable to your plan. Many electricity suppliers try to create the illusion of lower kWh rates by adding set fees or other charges to the kWh charges.
Making a choice does not have to be complicated. While there are many different products you can choose from when purchasing electricity, most revolve around a fixed rate. Product differences fall into three categories:
1 – Fixed or Variable Rate
2 – Term, or period of time the rate applies (usually 3, 6, 12, 24 months)
3 – Other services (may include a smart thermostat, green energy sources, etc.)
Credible retailers avoid the use of complicated rate structures and can provide simple analysis of your choices. Be aware that some plans also include other features, like the inclusion of smart thermostats. While these provide new tools, the kWh rate that accompanies these plans may have you spending 2 or 3 times the cost of the thermostat from Lowes or Amazon.
In the business domain other complexities exist. A business must determine what other considerations apply, like budget certainty, energy efficiency promotions, and changes in their business that may cause energy usage to change. Over 70% of businesses in Texas utilize the service of brokers or consultants to guide their procurement of electricity.
According to Tim Clark, President at Stellar Energy Solutions, the use of brokers is an effective strategy and businesses should seek well-qualified brokers to represent them in the marketplace.
“While Texas does not regulate brokers, many firms, including Stellar Energy Solutions, have strived to establish standards for the industry applying core values of Integrity, Choice, and Service,” Clark said.
Though most of today’s headlines are focused on the significant drop in oil and natural gas prices and how that may stress the South Texas economy, a silver lining exists for those of us who actively update our electricity plans. Prices being offered to South Texas residents and businesses are the lowest in over a decade, so why not take advantage and save?