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GeekYourRate.com is an electricity shopping website for use by those who live in the “deregulated” electric areas of Texas, to compare the hundreds of electric plans offered by about 50 Retail Electric Providers.   GeekYourRate currently only serves the “Oncor” transmission and distribution company territory, which is Dallas/Fort Worth, Midland, Tyler, Waco and surrounding areas, and also the "Centerpoint" transmission and distribution company territory, which includes Houston and the surrounding areas. The website will likely be expanded to serve other areas of deregulated Texas soon. GeekYourRate is the premier site in Texas for finding the lowest annual-cost plans corresponding to the user’s actual or estimated monthly consumption. This is accomplished using unique features such as local weather-based simulation algorithms and cost vs. consumption graphs.   There are approximately 50 companies that offer electricity, each with several plans, totaling nearly 2,000 plans in all of Texas.  Residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Midland, Tyler, and Waco areas have 350-400 choices of electric plans and those residing in the Houston area have nearly 400 choices of plans.
Powertochoose.org is an electric plan comparison website that is run by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas, located in Austin.  The intent of the site is to help Texans who live in the “deregulated” electric areas of Texas, view their available electric plans and select an electric provider.  There are approximately 50 companies that offer electricity, each with several plans, totaling nearly 2,000 plans in all of Texas.  Residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Midland, Tyler, and Waco areas have 350-400 choices of electric plans and those residing in the Houston area have nearly 400 choices of plans.
  • GeekYourRate uses SimuRATE™ - a proprietary weather-based simulation algorithm developed by the founder and   “Chief Geek”, a Texas-registered Professional Engineer who spent 26 years in the field of energy and utilities. SimuRATE™ generates 12 months of electric consumption using historical weather data based on your zipcode, plus key parameters describing the structural envelope and heating type of your residence.
  • GeekYourRate generates a graph of cost vs. consumption for every plan.
  • The founder of GeekYourRate has retained a patent attorney to pursue a utility patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office, to protect the intellectual property and processes used to generate GeekYourRate’s unique, customized comparison of electric plans.
  • Powertochoose.org displays costs for each Plan at only three exact monthly consumption levels: 500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, and 2,000 kWh. While a small apartment might use 500 kWh per month, a larger house might use more than 3,000 kWh during a summer month, but just 700 kWh during a winter month if it has gas heat. So, Powertochoose.org only allows sorting by one of three fixed consumption levels instead of the range of actual consumption over a year, as GeekYourRate does.
  • GeekYourRate estimates cost on twelve monthly “real life” consumption levels (for plans with contracts 12 months and longer) and is not limited to just 500, 1,000, and 2,000 kWh.
  • Powertochoose.org only displays cost in ₵/kWh of consumption, and only at three consumption levels. It doesn’t show how much you are estimated to spend (in dollars) for electricity over a month or a year.
  • GeekYourRate displays (and sorts by) estimated annual cost ($/year) or estimated cost for the contract length of each plan. This gives you an “apples to apples” comparison of the hundreds of electric plans, thereby leveling the playing field between plans, so to speak.
  • GeekYourRate allows the user to choose one of three ways to get their 12 estimated monthly consumption figures into the system:
    1. Enter your historical consumption for the past 12 months (if known)
    2. Answer just four questions and let GeekYourRate estimate your monthly consumption using proprietary simulation programs and historical weather-based algorithms corresponding to your location
    3. Let GeekYourRate use default answers to the four questions based on average values, along with historical weather-based algorithms based on your location

If the site has the owner’s best interests at heart, but not yours, any of the following may apply:

  • The number of electric plans you have to choose from is less than what you would get from the Texas state-run website powertochoose.org (or from GeekYourRate.com). You should be able to choose from hundreds of plans!

    If you live in the Oncor distribution territory, for example (Dallas/Fort Worth and parts of west Texas), you and everyone else served by Oncor has a choice of over 300 electric plans of varying contract lengths. Many Retail Electric Providers (electric companies) only offer their best plans on powertochoose.org (and therefore on GeekYourRate.com).

  • The other site’s owner gets paid by the electric companies whose plans they offer to you. Some sites will admit this, most will not. This is why they only offer certain plans to you - specifically only the plans that make them money. If you visit another electric shopping site, find out how the site makes money!

    Only GeekYourRate offers you EXACTLY the same plans as powertochoose.org. GeekYourRate does not accept compensation of any kind from any electric company. In order to have a truly unbiased site, you either have to be funded by taxpayers (powertochoose.org), by donations, have annoying advertising, or be paid by those who use the site.

    GeekYourRate does not have 3rd-party advertising and therefore operates at a loss, but will remain FREE for you to use as long as possible. In order to continue operating, we will likely have to begin charging users a small fee to use the site for a limited period of time, starting in early 2017. We believe that the value GeekYourRate provides in lowering your electric bills could easily justify the future fee.

  • The other sites want you to call them to sign you up for the plan you choose, instead of you following a link or calling the electric company directly to sign up. If they show the same phone number for you to call, for different electric companies, then you’re likely calling the business that owns the website, so that they can make sure they get their "kickback".

    GeekYourRate provides the exact same links as powertochoose.org to sign up for electric plans by sending you directly to the electric provider’s own website.

  • The other site is owned or run by an electric company or owner of multiple electric companies. These sites will offer limited plans and steer you towards the companies they own or that make them money.

  • The most accurate prediction of future electric costs would come from using your actual past 12 months of consumption.
  • However, someone who is moving into a new or pre-owned home, apartment, townhouse, or condo, may not have access to the past 12 months of utility bills from the previous owner or tenant, and with a newly-built residence, historical consumption data will not exist.
  • Even those who have lived somewhere for years may not keep electric bills or want to spend time looking the consumption up online. If actual consumption is not available, then an educated estimate from a program like SimuRATE™ will work fantastically for electric plan comparison purposes.
  • As an example, the following actual results were generated in April, 2016 from the GeekYourRate site, and illustrate the importance of using monthly consumption to compare electric plans:
    • GeekYourRate simulated the monthly consumption and generated estimated annual costs for a 700 square foot apartment. Then, the same was done for a 4,000 square foot house.
    • One of the plans (we’ll call it Electric Plan “Z”) showed an average annual cost of 6.9 cents/kWh for the apartment and an average annual cost of 9.3 cents/kWh for the house. Remember, this is from the same electric plan!
    • What this tells us is that Plan “Z” is great for an apartment, but not so good for a large house. Powertochoose.org cannot display results like this.
In 2002, the state of Texas enacted legislation that deregulated (ended governmental control of) the electric markets in certain areas of Texas. This includes the Dallas/ Fort Worth area, the Houston Area, and most of west Texas, east Texas, and south Texas. Most residents of these areas can switch electric providers as often as they choose. The following major Texas markets, however, are still regulated and residents do not have a choice of who provides their electricity: Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso. Other smaller markets are regulated, as well, including those served by city-owned electric companies and utility cooperatives also known as co-ops, which are customer-owned utilities.
  • Many providers play “games” by applying large dollar credits (or penalties) to the bill, which kick in at certain monthly usage levels. At least one electric plan that was displayed on powertochoose.org in July, 2016 would apply a credit of $100 to your bill if your monthly usage was more than 999 kWh but less than 1,501 kWh. Therefore, at usage levels outside of that narrow range, the “effective” rate paid was much higher. And, not surprisingly, the credit kicked in right at 1,000 kWh, which is one of the three cost points required for display on the Powertochoose site. Without reading the fine print, you would not know that it would cost you $100 more in a month for using 999 kWh instead of 1,000 kWh.
  • Powertochoose.org requires them to only report the cost (cents per kWh) of the plans they offer at three monthly usage levels: 500 kWh, 1,000 kWh, and 2,000 kWh. If you happen to use power at any other level in a given month (and you will) - such as at 1,653 kWh, for example - then the only way to find out how much you will pay in that month is to read the fine print, also known as the Energy Facts Label (EFL) and to use a calculator. But to do this for all usage ranges you might encounter and for all of the hundreds of available plans? Just use GeekYourRate and let the do it for you!
  • GeekYourRate uses 12 months of either actual or estimated usage values to generate a projected annual cost or a cost for the term of the contract, for each plan available to you. This provides you an “apples to apples” comparison of the plans! You’re not comparing the cost at just three exact usage levels like other sites.
  • GeekYourRate generates a graph of cost vs. monthly usage for every plan. This allows you to easily identify the plans that have large credits or penalties. Such plans have vertical lines appearing in their graph as shown in this actual example:
    The credit kicks in at 1000 kWh and goes away at 2000 kWh, as identified by the vertical lines:

    Graph image

  • Electricity is traded on commodity markets in much the same way as oil. The price of electricity depends on supply and demand factors, whether market-based or physical.

    Market-based supply and demand is influenced by the traders - buyers and sellers.

    Physical supply is affected by the amount generated, as well as by the source and relative cost of generation (natural gas vs. nuclear, for example). Physical demand is influenced by customer usage, which can be highly dependent on the weather. During the hottest part of the summer, demand can soar, and market prices often soar in tandem.

  • For the past few years, around 40% of the electricity consumed in Texas has been generated by natural gas. Therefore, electric prices have been and still are, heavily influenced by natural gas prices. Texans have enjoyed relatively low natural gas prices for the past several years, and electric prices in the deregulated areas have been relatively low, as well.

  • No. While there may be differences in customer satisfaction scores between electric providers, “electrons are electrons” and the provider has no effect on the reliability of your electric service (other than disconnection for actual or perceived failure to pay the bill).

    Reliability of electric delivery is a function only of the transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment (including the lines and wires), which is owned and controlled by the regulated T&D companies; Oncor, Centerpoint Energy, AEP Texas Central, AEP Texas North, Texas & New Mexico Power, and Sharyland.

  • All electricity in Texas is accounted for by the state agency ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT is considered the clearinghouse for electricity in Texas. The electrons being delivered to your house come from the “grid”. The grid is a physical network of transmission and distribution lines and wires connected to various generation sources to include nuclear plants and natural gas, coal and methane-burning plants, as well as solar and wind-generated sources.

    ERCOT has the colossal task of managing the Texas electric grid and the financial accounting of electricity produced by wholesale generation sources. Power generated by renewable sources, known as "renewable power", is usually coupled with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which can be sold only once. Some commercial, industrial, and residential customers want to be considered “Green” for purchasing and using renewable power, so there is a market for the sale of RECs. If your electric provider is selling you 20% renewable power that was produced by renewable means, they should own and maintain the RECs associated with that power.

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