TEXAS, USA — You may have been rationing the electricity around your house since last year. We kept watch before and after the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent natural gas prices soaring. Natural gas is the biggest source of energy used for electricity generation in Texas, so our electric rates soared as well.
Recently, at powertochoose.org, the state-run website where you can choose your electric provider, the spot check of electricity prices we have been doing since before rates surged in 2022 has come back down to around where it was before it took off last year.
Why now may be the time to shop
If you are paying a significantly higher rate for electricity than you were before all of this craziness, you might shop around now. That’s because you never know what will happen next to send prices higher, like war or tight electricity supply in Texas.
Another reason to shop: summer is approaching.
If you look at past data from DFW and Houston, typically electricity has become significantly more expensive in the summer months when we use more power. We asked some experts at electricityplans.com and comparepower.com about this. Those are two well-known sites not run by the state where consumers can also shop for electricity plans.
Electricityplans.com said, “Prices have dropped 25-30% since April 2022 (based on comparison of 4/30/2022 to now for a 12-month plan in DFW).”
But the company added that, “Historically, electricity rates are higher from June to August, with lower rates in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall…rates will increase this summer, but the amount is anyone’s guess.”
What about the cancellation fee on your current plan
If you are committed long-term to a high-rate plan that you got locked into last year, you may want to do the calculations to see if switching to a lower rate plan now would be cost effective if you have an early termination fee with your current plan. Some of the sites not run by the state have tutorials on how to do those calculations.
But what if you don’t want to pay to cancel your current plan because it expires soon, but you also don’t want to have to shop for a new plan in the historically more expensive summer months?
First, comparison shop.
Electricityplans.com confirmed, “Energy companies often give lower rates to new customers. So, it pays to shop around."
Once you land on a lower rate plan, consider locking in the rate by delaying the start date of the new plan.
Comparepower.com noted, “Customers that use our service frequently take advantage of scheduling service in advance to lock in a favorable rate before their current plan expires. Most providers offer the option to sign up at a preferred rate and schedule service to begin in 30, 60, or 90 days, but this may vary by provider.”
Electrictyplans.com recommends Texans start browsing for electricity plans, “60 days before their contract expiration. That’s especially true for those who expire in the summer. When enrolling, just pick a “self-selected switch date. Have your new plan start on your expiration date of your current plan.”