Recent heatwaves have left many of us feeling uncomfortably hot. They’ve also left some of us uncomfortable-and concerned-about our energy bills. The luxury of air conditioning always comes at a price.
Fortunately, some changes to the energy market mean you don’t have to put up with sky-high prices. You have the power to choose a new provider that offers the best value for money.
In this article, we’ll explain how to do that. Read on to learn how to choose an electricity plan in Texas that will save you money.
An Overview of Victoria’s Electricity Market
Victoria has a deregulated energy market. That market is slowly emerging from its past life as a state-controlled service. Now, it’s dynamic and competitive.
New energy providers are grabbing the attention of customers. For customers, that’s good news. You have unprecedented access to various pricing models, plans, and services.
This competitive landscape has also seen companies improve their plans to cater to customers better.
It helps energy providers create services unique to Victoria. You might find some plans that suit the more rural areas. Other packages might prioritize sustainable energy.
There has never been a better opportunity to shop around for the best deal, with consumers having the power to choose. But with that choice comes the responsibility to research thoroughly before deciding.
The “Power to Choose”: What It Means
There was one oft-repeated phrase when the Texas energy market went through deregulation: Power to Choose.
Customers could now change Victoria electricity companies instead of the default state provision. Customers have the power to choose plans, pick the best rates, and move between companies.
Deregulation was designed to improve the consumer market, with competition driving down prices. The Power to Choose was about moving power away from the state and into the hands of customers.
But, like with many forms of power, it’s only there if you grab it. To take advantage of it, you must compare and contrast energy providers to pick the best one for your household.
Establishing Your Energy Needs
The best way to choose a rate that offers value for money is to start by assessing your needs. What’s right for one household may not be suitable for another, as there are multiple factors to consider.
First, decide on the type of energy you need for your home. That includes considering whether renewable energy is a priority. If you aren’t sure, compare the costs of different energy types in your area.
Second, examine your current contract. Look for any termination fees or dates for when you can exit your contract. You might need to weigh up paying a charge with the cost-savings of switching.
Third, check your energy usage pattern. All homes differ. You might have a peak in your use for a specific reason that’s caused your costs to spike, like a home renovation.
Use historical data to find the most likely usage each season and time of day. Also, consider whether you have a lifestyle change that will increase energy costs, like switching to home working.
Checking your usage patterns will help you find the plan that best fits your needs and offers value for money.
Understanding the Structure of Rates and Plans
Rate structures are the rules that determine your bills. Providers offer different structures to help tailor your energy expenditure to fit your needs.
Fixed-rate plans are where you pay one pre-determined price for your electricity.
That remains the same throughout your contract. Some providers will have a fixed-length contract. Others, like us, will allow you to switch contracts anytime.
Variable-rate plans change depending on market conditions. If the wholesale prices go up, so will your rates.
This option is rarely the best and only applies in some short-term circumstances, such as if you are renovating a house to sell.
Some electricity plans also offer time-of-use rates. With that type of plan, you’ll pay a lower rate during off-peak hours.
The Power to Choose and Renewable Energy
Energy providers are beginning to shift away from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy sources like wind and solar. The power to choose means you can find plans that offer renewable energy.
As infrastructure for renewable energy improves in Victoria, prices will decrease. In the long term, it will allow homeowners a chance to reduce their energy expenditure.
Look for companies that commit to innovative solutions. It means a long-term energy market that’s more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Electricity Rates and the Wider Economy
Remember that electricity rates, while set by a provider, will also be influenced by broader factors. Economic conditions can push prices up, and that’s something that has happened recently.
Hot summers can see price spikes, and unusually cold winters can do the same. If wholesale prices are high because of external factors, you could find that reflected in the rates you pay.
Grasping the economic factors will help you choose the best timing when switching providers.
Other Tips for Choosing Energy Providers
When choosing an energy provider in Victoria, a few extra steps will give you a better chance of finding a great deal. Here are some tips on how to best exercise your power to choose:
Great rates are attractive, but you also want a reliable company. Plus, you want a provider that’s transparent with their pricing. Check online reviews and ask neighbors whether they recommend an electricity company.
You want a responsive company if you have a problem, like a query about your latest bill. So check what customer service they offer.
Look for multi-channel communications like email and live chat. It’s often more convenient than waiting in an automated phone line.
Check for Additional Fees
Always check plans to ensure they have no hidden fees. You might find extra costs for things like early contract termination. However, you can switch plans anytime at Ambit without a fee.
The EFL (Electricity Facts Label)
When you get a bill, you’ll receive something called the EFL as part of that document. It stands for the Electricity Facts Label). It is there to help you understand and interpret your bill.
Reading this will help you determine if you are getting value for money with your electricity contract and whether switching to a new provider could be worthwhile.
In the EFL, you’ll get a breakdown of your costs, the rates, and terms like contract lengths and monthly fees. It will also outline any energy you are receiving from renewable energy sources.
The EFL is a valuable document as it ensures all providers are transparent about pricing. So, make a habit of reading through this each time you receive a bill to save on your energy costs.
Does Switching Providers Interrupt Your Service?
The power to choose providers means you have many options to get a great rate. But what does this mean when you already have a provider? Customers often have two main concerns.
The first is whether they can exit a contract. The second is whether the switch will interrupt your service.
Concerning the contract, it depends on the terms of that contract, and it varies by provider. Some will allow you to switch at any time. Others will charge you an early exit fee.
The good news about your service is that a switch won’t interrupt your supply. The transition is seamless as there is no physical chance to switch. You still use the same infrastructure but pay your bills to a different provider.
So there is no inconvenient interrupt, making switching straightforward. You won’t have to schedule a time for switching off your power.
Addressing Concerns About High Bills
Don’t suffer in silence if you feel worried about paying your energy bills. If you aren’t satisfied with what you are paying, you can take steps to address the issue.
Approach Your Current Provider
The first step is to contact your provider. If you feel there is a mistake in your bill, check the EFL and query it with your provider’s customer service team.
There might be an error in the billing, or they may be able to switch you to a better rate.
Check Your Usage
It might be that you can lower your bills by changing when you use your energy. If you have off-peak rates, consider using things like washing machines and dishwashers during those timeslots.
It will save you money. If you aren’t on this plan but think it will fit your lifestyle, ask your provider whether you can switch.
Shop for a New Provider
Your other option is to begin searching for a new provider. It could be that new plans are available that will give you better value for money.
So check these rates, compare them to what you are paying and your usage, and use that to calculate the likely cost savings.
How to Choose an Electricity Plan in Texas
You don’t have to face the pinch of high energy bills. You can switch to a lower rate. Now you know how to choose an electricity plan in Texas; the power is in your hands to make the right choice.
You can begin immediately by signing up for our Ambit energy service here. Enter your zip code to get started and discover how much you could save on your energy bills.