Tuesday, December 12, 2006


That's right. 4-6 weeks is the value of savings for most Texans if they would simply switch providers. Texans who continue to pay the highest, “price to beat” rates charged by their long-standing utility company could save as much as four-to-six weeks of the cost of their electricity by choosing another electricity provider.

The Texas Public Utility Commission Chairman Paul Hudson said in November, “We don’t think anyone should be paying the price to beat today. Everyone should be out, actively engaged in the marketplace and seeking out electricity offers that significantly undercut the price to beat.” Chairman Hudson’s remarks were made in an interview with Power Markets Week, November 13., 2006 and in testimony to the legislators.

WWW.CHOOSEENERGY.COM offers a free, independent, online energy marketplace similar to online exchanges for travel and mortgages. The website doesn’t sell or promote any one company, but simply makes it easy for consumers to see what kind of money-saving offers they can receive from companies which have been carefully screened. On www.chooseenergy.com, residential customers can simply provide their zip code and amount of last month’s bill in order to see the best rates they can receive that day. Business benefits and savings are even better. Only www.chooseenergy.com offers an unbiased comparison tool where business owners can get real-time, comparative bids on their electricity business without having to talk or deal directly with multiple companies.

So go shop Texas and save some money for the Holidays.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Consumers need to help make electricity deregulation work in Texas.

Many recent articles have questioned why electricity rates are so high in Texas and about how much money Reliant and TXU are making from deregulation.

Back when the hurricanes Rita and Katrina came through and caused a major disturbance to our natural gas production in late 2004, natural gas prices rose significantly – thus increasing the price of electricity. Prices have come down since then, but the affiliate providers have not lowered their rates. Many newspapers have written articles about this recently – asking why TXU and Reliant haven’t lowered their rates to reflect today’s natural gas rates. Well, the answer is that the affiliate providers, such as TXU and Reliant, agreed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas not to raise rates immediately and to phase in their rate increases over time, so that people could recover and not be shocked by such a high rate increase at one time. By doing this, the affiliate electric providers lost a significant amount of money in their retail divisions during this time while prices were actually higher than what they were charging their customers. Now I’m certainly not saying they haven’t fully recovered these loses, because they probably have. The fact is – they are public companies and are judged by the bottom-line just as other large corporations.

I believe the real answer lies with the consumers of electricity in Texas. Why haven’t more people switched to a lower electric plan? Even the affiliate providers offer their customers lower rates. If more people switched providers don’t you think that TXU and Reliant would lower their rates…YES! Consumers need to take some of the blame here. Less than half of consumers of electricity in deregulated areas of Texas have actually switched from the default rate they are charged from their affiliate provider.

If you are looking on Travelocity for a flight and one is $15 cheaper than the other – which do you choose? Do you buy a car at sticker price? NO – If 2 gas stations are side by side, but one says $2.29 and the other says $2.19 do you go to the one for $2.29 – NO! You buy the cheaper one, or you negotiate your price. Deregulation will drive competition – but people have to help.

Remember when it cost a small fortune to make a long distance call? Many younger people probably don’t. Why was that? What did the government do about it? They broke up the regulated monopoly. Telecom was deregulated thus creating competition, infrastructure enhancements and improvements and now long-distance rates are virtually non-existent. I’m certainly not saying that electricity rates will become non-existent, but I am saying the industry will make improvements to infrastructure, produce better services and products, but competition for all intents and purposes is what will ultimately drive down electricity prices. That will have to come from the consumers. More and more consumers switching providers is what will ultimately drive down rates.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Business Owner Cuts His Electricity Bill by 23 Percent

Tom Sadler, co-owner of printing and design company Executive Press in Richardson, Texas, watches his business expenses very carefully because many of his operating costs have increased significantly during 2006.

"Everybody complains about gasoline prices, but lots of other price increases – such as the cost of paper - have also gone up, making it harder than ever for a printing business like mine to operate profitably," Sadler explains.

Sadler can’t do much about many of his budget-busting cost increases, but when he experienced a 25 percent increase in electricity cost from TXU within a one-year period, he decided to take action.

From a friend, Sadler learned last summer about a new online marketplace where he could compare commercial electricity rates offered by a number of retail electric providers. Taking a look at http://www.chooseenergy.com/, Sadler saw that he could save money by switching to almost any of the listed providers listed. Sadler decided to use Choose Energy’s easy switching process. Sadler began saving about 23 percent, or approximately $1,200 per month as soon as the switch was completed.

"I got several quotes, all in one place and Choose Energy was easy to use," Sadler said. "As a business owner, I know who the big name providers are. If Reliant calls and says they can save me money, the only quote I get is from them. They might just be trying to beat TXU. But a new market entrant like Champion Energy is trying to beat out both companies. Choose Energy is great because I don't have to hassle with talking to a bunch of different people at different companies. I got an immediate answer and I could see how much I would save with each provider."
"Retail electric providers like having the capabilities provided by Choose Energy," said Rob Cantrell, Senior VP of Sales & Marketing for Champion Energy Services. "With Choose Energy’s unique real-time pricing capabilities, we can offer small businesses a variety of individualized, competitive rates that we can vary according to market conditions and contract lengths."
"Electricity customers visiting http://www.chooseenergy.com/ can have peace of mind that they are not paying more than they have to for electricity," said Jerry Dyess, general manager of Choose Energy. "Choose Energy also prescreens electricity providers for reliability and their commitment to offering cost-saving electricity for their customers."

"As an added benefit for electricity shoppers, customers may sign up to be notified when rates drop, if they don’t see an electricity offer they want to accept when they visit http://www.chooseenergy.com/," added Dyess.