By Mark Trimarchi, PE
According to a study by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, electricity prices for residents of the deregulated areas of Texas have declined over the past ten years.  This is not surprising to me, considering that I have followed residential electricity prices for at least ten years, and on a daily basis for the past two years.
Texas electricity prices are closely tied to natural gas pricing, as natural gas is the single biggest source for generating electricity in Texas.  Natural gas prices have been relatively low, at least since 2009.
However, the study was referring to average residential electricity rates offered by the 50+ electric providers you have to choose from in Texas.  You don't have to pay average prices!
If you use GeekYourRate.com for your customized electricity shopping (by entering your past 12 months of usage), you will see the very lowest cost plans of the 350+ available to you.  The plans will be sorted based on monthly cost calculations using your own past usage.  In other words, you will be able to lock in the VERY lowest cost electricity for 12 months or whatever contract length you choose.
Plans with contract lengths of up to five years are available, but you will typically pay more for such a long contract.  The companies have to "hedge their bets" that prices they pay for your electricity won't rise during any long contract period, leaving them selling it to you at a potential loss.
There is no other tool or website in existence to see over 350 electric plans sorted in the manner that GeekYourRate does (sorted by relative annual cost).  This gives you an apples-to-apples comparison of all plans.
Without exception, every other website for Texas electricity shopping limits the number of plans you have to choose from to much fewer than 350 plans, and typically doesn't sort by annual cost.  Some only show as few as 20 or 30 plans.  These are the plans for which they get paid if you sign up for one of them.  That's biased electricity shopping, in my book.
Thank you for reading!  I plan in the coming days and weeks to share some energy-saving tips from my 25+ years as an engineer in the energy conservation field.
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 more than 50 Retail Electric Providers.  GeekYourRate currently only serves the “Oncor” and "Centerpoint" transmission and distribution company territories.  Oncor territory includes Dallas/Fort Worth, Midland, Tyler, and Waco. The "Centerpoint" transmission and distribution territory includes Houston and the surrounding areas, down to Galveston.
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.
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 over 50 companies that offer electricity, each with several plans, totaling nearly 2,000 plans in all of deregulated Texas.  Residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Midland, Tyler, and Waco areas have over 350 choices of electric plans, and those residing in the Houston area have over 350 choices of plans, as well.  Users of both GeekYourRate.com, and Powertochoose.org have exactly the same choices of 350+ electric plans from more than 50 electric providers.
That's where the similarity ends!  The two websites sort the available electric plans in completely different ways.
GeekYourRate.com runs over 5000 calculations before displaying your results, and sorts by estimated annual cost ($/year) for each plan (or for the contract length of any plan shorter than 12 months, rather than annual cost). This gives you an “apples to apples” comparison of the hundreds of electric plans, thereby leveling the playing field between plans, so to speak.
Powertochoose.org runs ZERO calculations.  It only shows your cost in cents per kWh at three monthly usage levels; 500 kWh, 1000 kWh, and 2000 kWh.  It doesn't show your cost for usage outside of these three exact levels.  Since no home uses electricity at any one of those ranges every month, it is not realistic to sort in this manner. It is impossible to know which plan will be the cheapest for you when you view them on powertochoose.org, unless you spend hours running your own calculations. GeekYourRate does them for you!GeekYourRate allows the user to choose one of three ways to get their 12 estimated monthly usage figures into the system:
- Enter your historical usage for the past 12 months (if known)
- Answer just four questions and let GeekYourRate estimate your monthly usage using proprietary simulation programs and historical weather-based algorithms corresponding to your location.  This is very helpful if you are moving to a new house or apartment and don't have access to historical usage.
- Let GeekYourRate use default answers to the four questions based on average values, along with historical weather-based algorithms based on your location
To sum it up, this is customized electricity shopping like no other site offers!  The cheapest plan for you will likely be different from the cheapest plan for your neighbor and will depend on whether you live in an apartment, a small house, a big house, a townhouse, etc.  So, take a free Test Drive today and see what GeekYourRate is all about!My next Blog will discuss why it's so important to shop for electric plans using either your past 12 months of usage or 12 months of estimated usage. By Mark Trimarchi, P.E. Founder, GeekYourRate.com